For the past two years, I've been working with The Phillips Collection to bring you a festival of short plays entitled, On Stage with The Migration Series. Serving as Artistic Director, and with the generous support of Elaine Reuben, The Phillips Collection commissioned five 10-minute plays to be presented in conjunction with their upcoming exhibition: People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. At long last, I'm honored and delighted to share this news with you!
This fall, the 60-panel masterwork The Migration Series by renowned African American 20th-century artist Jacob Lawrence will be on display at The Phillips Collection in People on the Move: Beauty and Struggle in Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series. A powerful visual epic, The Migration Series (1940–41) documents the historic movement of millions of African Americans from the rural South to the urban North more than a century ago. Reuniting 30 panels owned by the Phillips with 30 panels on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, Lawrence’s complete series will be on display beginning October 8, 2016. This exhibition builds on the museum’s rich and meaningful history with the artist and his work over the course of decades in exhibitions and internationally recognized educational initiatives.
“Since the time Duncan Phillips first acquired the odd-numbered panels of Lawrence’s series in 1942, The Migration Series has remained a cornerstone of our permanent collection and a force in our educational work with international communities,” said Director Dorothy Kosinski. “While Jacob Lawrence’s masterpiece was created more than 70 years ago, it continues to resound powerfully with the global plight of migrants today. I look forward to the Phillips continuing its leadership role in using The Migration Series to stimulate dialogue and reflection on global challenges in the 21st century.”
“In panel 61 of The Migration Series, Lawrence leaves us with the message, ‘And the migrants keep coming,’” said curator Elsa Smithgall. “During a time when record numbers of migrants are uprooting themselves in search of a better life, Lawrence’s timeless tale and its universal themes of struggle and freedom continue to strike a chord not only in our American experience but also in the international experience of migration around the world.”
In addition to the reunion exhibition, there will be several special events and programs throughout the fall inspired by Lawrence’s masterwork and to commemorate the artist’s legacy. The Phillips will also welcome and facilitate community participation through a variety of forums—including visual art, theater, dance, music, and discussion events. Alongside the exhibition in October, plays commissioned by the Phillips and inspired by Lawrence’s Migration Series will be debuted and read on October 20th and November 3rd. This will include five 10-minute plays written by five local playwrights: Norman Allen, Tearrance Chisholm, Annalisa Dias, Jacqueline E. Lawton, and Laura Shamas. The production team for each play includes Lawton as Artistic Director, Otis Cortez Ramsey-Zöe as Dramaturg, and Derek Goldman as Director.
In the coming weeks, The Phillips Collection will announce additional community events, performances, and programs planned in association with the exhibition. Check back here for more information.
Click here for the full press release.
Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 1: During World War I there was a great migration north by southern African Americans., between 1940 and 1941, Casein tempera on hardboard 12 x 18 in. The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC Acquired 1942 © Estate of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
I'm a playwright, dramaturg, and teaching artist. It is here where you'll find my queries and musings on life, theater and the world. My posts advocate for diversity, inclusion, and equity in the American Theatre and updates on my own work. Please enjoy!