In celebration of Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle, SAM has invited dance artists Gilbert Small, Marco Farroni, and Mikhail Calliste to create personal responses inspired by the themes of the exhibition, and how those themes resonate with contemporary life. This exhibition reunites Lawrence’s revolutionary 30-panel series Struggle: From the History of the American People (1954–56) for the first time since 1958. These modernist paintings chronicle pivotal moments from the American Revolution through to westward expansion and feature Black, female, and Native protagonists as well as the founders of the United States. Lawrence interprets the democratic debates that defined the early nation and echoed into the civil rights movements during which he was painting the Struggle series.
For these performances, dancers were asked, “If Jacob Lawrence painted a 31st panel today, how would he depict America?” They then translated their ideas through their dancing bodies.
This program will feature screenings of the dance works, followed by a discussion between Marco Farroni and David Rue, SAM Public Engagement Associate. In the current socio-political climate, Rue has initiated projects that celebrate and elevate incredible Black artists living and working in the city of Seattle through connecting them with works by prominent Black artists on view at SAM.
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