The rich legacy of African American photographers is explored in Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography, a three-part exhibition that historically documents the black experience in the United States. The exhibition, the first ever to explore the history of black photography from 1840 to the present, features a groundbreaking assemblage of work by 120 photographers presented in more than 300 images of remarkable expressive power. The exhibition will be presented at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO), the Oakland Museum of California, and the Mills College Art Museum.
In a unique collaboration, the three Oakland museums hosting the exhibition will comprise the only complete presentation of Reflections in Black in the western United States. All three shows open on June 7, 2003. Part One of the exhibition, The First 100 Years: 1842-1942, will be presented by the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) through Aug. 31, 2003. Part Two, Art and Activism, will be presented by the Oakland Museum of California, also through Aug. 31, and A History Deconstructed will be presented by the Mills College Art Museum, closing on Aug.10.
” It’s a groundbreaking exhibit,” said Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown. “Over 300 images documenting decades of experience from slavery through the civil rights era to present day artfully presented by three of Oakland’s cultural and educational institutions.”
Images of family events, human-rights activities and the cultural vitality of the Harlem Renaissance are among the featured works. The exhibition counters stereotypes with an interior view of life in black America, while exploring how African Americans have embraced photography as a means of creating and communicating personal and social dignity.
Reflections in Black: Smithsonian African American Photography
History Special Gallery
Presented by the History Department
Oakland Museum of California
African American Museum and Library at Oakland
Mills College Art Museum