Tonight, a dear friend of mine invited me to the Museum of Fine Arts lecture series featuring Carrie Mae Weems. Weems is a Black artist that unpacks race, gender, power and other complicated topics in some provocative images. Being able to hear her talk about her influences, her work and hearing her insert references to James Baldwin…it was such a great night!
Then, as we were walking out into the lobby, my friend asked me if I’d seen the Gordon Parks exhibit. I hadn’t, but when I looked at my watch, I also noted that I was edging up to the window when I told my babysitter I’d be home.
“You’re here. You have to see it,” my friend said. I texted my sitter, who said that E was sleeping soundly and that she was fine with staying a bit longer.
I wound my way through the MFA, pausing to look at various exhibits until I found Gordon Park’s Back to Fort Scott. Once there, I savored every single image, reading the captions, looking hard at the people captured in the pictures, feeling a lot like the segregation of Parks’ Kansas was not too distant from many of our schools today. (Coincidentally, Tuesday night seems the perfect night to wander through the museum: not too crowded. I must remember this when I find myself with a chunk of time on my hands again).
How a picture can tell a story, indeed…