By admin       2018-09-07

On Friday, Sept. 14, the African-American Museum of Philadelphia invites all to come out for a free opening reception of the special exhibition, Cotton: The Soft, Dangerous Beauty of the Past. This exhibition features 35 large-scale photographs by Philadelphia native John E. Dowell, a professor at Emeritus of Tyler School of Art at Temple University. Combined with photography, the museum will be transformed with a full installation that "explores the dichotomy between the beauty of the plant, and its inexorable link to the horrors of chattel slavery in the U.S." Dowell, a notable photographer, has been featured in more than 50 one-person exhibitions, as well as represented in the permanent collections of 70 museums and public collections, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. “Over the past 10 years, Dowell has been extremely dedicated to photography. He is now looking at cotton and how cotton was a commodity that was used to build the United States of America on the backs of enslaved Africans,” said Deejay Duckett, director of Curatorial Services of the African-American Museum. Visitors to the exhibit can get a sense of what it is like to be in the cotton field, with cotton as far as the eye can see. The African-American Museum has created an entire environment in which to immerse visitors. “We have the history of cotton, the people that it affected and the beauty of the plant itself,” added Duckett. The exhibit officially opens Sept. 14 with a wine and light fare reception from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the African-American Museum located at 701 Arch Street. The museum, a part of Philadelphia's cultural landscape since 1976, offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the African-America experience. Said CEO Patricia Wilson Aden, “African-American history is American history. African-American culture is American culture, therefore we open up our doors to anyone that is interested in celebrating and learning more about the African-American experience.”

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