Resiliency, History and When They Collide

Impressionism and Black History

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In celebration of Black History Month and the special exhibition Dalí & the Impressionists: Monet, Renoir, Degas & More, Dr. Dallas Jackson will give a talk at the Dalí on February 7 (sold out, but streaming online) exploring how the Impressionist movement provided the foundation that many artists, including himself, used to develop their technical skills.

He will explain how visual artists like the Florida Highwaymen captured their environments “en plein air” and how the Highwaymen prevailed through racial injustice to create venues for their artwork.

Visual artwork by Dr. Dallas Jackson

The overarching assumption when large historical events happen is, what were the reverberations, and how did they affect the daily lives of those who endured such conditions?

When one thinks about Jim Crow laws and the Spanish Flu, one could assume that these events would affect everyone in all parts of the world. But the effects of these dire circumstances were almost always answered with resiliency.

With the George Floyd tragedy perfectly placed within this moment of contemplation Dr. Jackson embarked on a new path to create artwork that doesn’t just remind others of the past – but incorporates the long hard fight for freedom.

In Kevin Kirkwood’s podcast, Ten Frames he explains that he’s exploring “a history that was just buried in time.”

In pursuit of lost history, Dr. Jackson began to sift through family photos. Within the photos he discovered that one could not infer from seeing them that there were Jim Crow laws and the Spanish Flu occurring at the time.

This revelation led to Dr. Jackson’s interest into many other groups that had become lost in the folds of time, such as the Florida Highwaymen – a group of artists who made “en plein air” artwork and sold paintings out of the trunk of their cars.

Their art bridged impressionism and surrealism. Their influence echoes today.

by Dr. Dallas Jackson

Most of the Florida Highwaymen’s artwork was trampled upon and forgotten. Only now, upon a closer look, is it rediscovered. People who should have had a voice, who mattered, who had something important and valuable to say, but were lost due to the nation they were born into.

Every hint of adversity was answered with adaptation, and triumph – the backbones to resilience.

by Dr. Dallas Jackson

Dr. Jackson’s visual art doesn’t just highlight major figures of the fight against social injustice, but the current trials and tribulations the world is currently experiencing. This point in his artistic career is more about informing than reflecting. Teaching rather than memorializing.

Dr. Dallas Jackson has traveled nationwide in search of the breadcrumbs of slavery. In pursuit of truth, fact, and the forgotten. Each has an impact on his artwork, where resiliency and history not only meet but collide.


Dr. Jackson’s “Coffee with a Curator”
talk at the Dalí Museum is sold out,
but you can stream it online
Wednesday, February 7 from 10:30-11:30 am
through this link.

The special exhibit Dalí & The Impressionists
is on display through April 28.

A free video of this talk will be published
on the Dalí Museum’s YouTube page.


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