College of Liberal Arts

“March ON!”: A Chronicle of the life of Congressman John Lewis, on display at UT

Tue, Jan 17, 2017
John Lewis, as depicted in
John Lewis, as depicted in "MARCH," delivers a speech at the March on Washington.

Illustrations from the National Book Award-winning graphic novel series MARCH, a chronicle of the life of civil-rights activist and U.S. Rep. from Georgia John Lewis, is the focus of a new exhibit in the Christian-Green Gallery at The University of Texas at Austin.

The exhibit will be on display from January 17 through April 17 in the Jester Center (A232), 201 E. 21st Street. 

Illustrated by Nate Powell and co-authored by Lewis and policy advisor Andrew Aydin, MARCH details Lewis’s journey to become one of the “Big Six” — a group of the most prominent black leaders during the Civil Rights Movement. The bookwas described by the New York Times as, “a capsule lesson in courage of conscience, a story that inspires without moralizing or simplifying in hindsight.”

“Poignantly told and artfully rendered, MARCH mobilizes an innovative brush and ink style that evokes the emotional memory of dark times, roaring crowds and glorious triumphs,” said Rebecca Giordano, curator and UT Alumna. 

The exhibition includes hand-inked drawings from the three-volume graphic memoir, as well asphotographs, political ephemera and artwork from the Blanton Museum of Art, the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the John L. Warfield Center for African and African American Studies (Warfield Center) and the Austin History Center.

“We hope that the power of “March ON!” will be felt across campus, throughout Austin, and beyond,” said Warfield Galleries director Lise Ragbir. 

Curator Giordano has paired Powell’s powerful illustrations with historical materials that evoke a cultural context of popular forms of protest. “Music, comics, pamphlets and photographs were essential tools for spreading the ideas of racial justice and non-violence as well as leveraging public opinion,” said Giordano.

The Warfield Center is the arts, culture and programming division of the larger Black Studies community at UT Austin. The center supports the research and programmatic initiatives of its faculty affiliates and students, collaborates with local organizations, and encourages creative work that seeks to foster social justice for people of African descent around the world. 

By supporting, promoting and sustaining the arts as an expression of creativity and social-justice, the Christian-Green Gallery establishes UT Austin as a premiere location to study the art and material culture of the African Diaspora. The gallery has been designed to exhibit, contemplate and discuss art and material culture as it relates to the Black experience in the United States, Africa and the Diaspora.

For more information contact: blackstudies@austin.utexas.edu, (512) 471-1784

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