University Galleries to Host New Exhibit, “Finding the Promised Land”

By Staff Reports / 08/06/2021 College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (Aug. 6, 2021) – The University Galleries at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University are hosting a new art exhibition, “Finding the Promised Land: Landscape Works by Black Artists from the Permanent Collection.” The exhibit will open Monday, Aug. 9, and run through Friday, Sept. 24.

In January 2020, a landscape painting by Robert Duncanson played a special role in the inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.

His work, “Landscape with Rainbow” (1859), was displayed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, on loan for one day from the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM). Duncanson is the first Black artist selected for the tradition of presidents selecting a work of art to exhibit for their inauguration day – a tradition that dates back nearly 40 years.

A pastoral landscape, “Landscape with Rainbow” features a luminous rainbow that disrupts the skyline lighting a path for two distant figures headed toward a house nestled in a dense forest area. The painting channels a hope for peace as the Civil War looms.

This pivotal art selection sheds light on Duncanson’s career as an artist as well as setting a trend for Black artists whose artistic subjects are landscapes. Duncanson (1821-1872) was a free man of color who engaged in the abolitionist and spent the majority of his career in Cincinnati. He is recognized as the first African American artist to gain international acclaim. Many art historians believed Duncanson used underlying racial metaphors such as rainbows in his work.

“The University Galleries are proud to showcase this exhibition that features 12 works by noted artists such as Alma Thomas, Hale Woodruff and Leroy Holmes from the permanent collection,” said Paul Baker, Ph.D., director of A&T’s University Galleries.

Additional upcoming exhibitions and events include:

Sept. 15 – Opening of the virtual exhibition, "Songs of the Motherland: African musical instruments from the Permanent Collection."

Oct. 1 – Opening of the in-person exhibition, "Willie Otey Kay: The Fashions of an African American Coutourier,” co-sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of History.

The University Galleries are open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Social distancing will be observed. Small groups of 10 or less are welcome.

Contact Paul Baker at pkbaker@ncat.edu for more information, or visit the University Galleries website.

Media Contact Information: uncomm@ncat.edu

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