African Wisdom in Image and Proverb: Betty Press
Becoming Home: Mariana Sheppard & Nakeya Brown
December 10, 2011 -January 21, 2012
Opening: Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011, 6-9pm
Curator Tour / Lecture by Beryl Hunter: Saturday, Jan. 14, 2-4pm
Closing Reception and Artist Talk: January 21, 6-9pm
McKenna Museum of African American Art
2003 Carondelet St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
Hours:Tue & Wed by appt, Thur-Sat 11am-4pm
I Am Because We Are: African Wisdom in Image and Proverb highlights 125 black and white photographs of African daily life combined with related proverbs, which were used, and are still being used, to instruct members of the African society how to think, how to behave and how to have a better life. The title of the book comes from a well-known proverb I am because we are: we are because I am attributed to South Africa. It speaks to the interconnectedness and responsibility that we have for each other. It embodies the concept of Ubuntu, the African idea of living harmoniously in community. The black and white photographs of unique moments in African daily life taken by Betty Press, combined with related proverbs collected by Anneta Miller, illustrate traditional African wisdom.
The exhibition at the museum will consist of 20-40 black and white images selected from the above mentioned book. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the opening reception.
Betty Press is currently an Adjunct Professor of Photography at University of Southern Mississippi, in Hattiesburg. Previous to that she taught at Stetson University in Deland, Florida. She is best known for her photographs taken in Africa when she lived and worked in Kenya as a freelance photojournalist from 1987 to 1995. Now living in Hattiesburg, Mississippi she photographs in the South as well as continues to travel to Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Cuba and Africa. In 2008-09 she photographed in Sierra Leone while accompanying her husband Dr. Bob Press who was a Fulbright Scholar and Lecturer at Fourah Bay College. Her photographs have been published in many major magazines and newspapers.
184 pp, Hardcover, Size 10” X 8” | 125 Duotone images by Betty Press
First edition, $39.95 | ISBN: 978-0-9835454-4-6
In partnership with Books For Africa whose mission is to end the book famine in Africa. www.booksforafrica.org | BFA receives $5 donation with purchase of book from website
Becoming Home: Mariana Sheppard and Nakeya Brown will be exhibiting a new collection of photographs entitled, “Becoming Home,” inspired by past and present life along Louisiana’s River Road. Situating history in a contemporary context, “Becoming Home” explores the connections and disconnect between the region’s African-American residents and its surrounding plantations.
A native of greater New Orleans, Louisiana, Mariana Sheppard has a strong passion for raising awareness of social issues through artistic expression. Through her documentary photography, Mariana aims to showcase the intrinsic beauty and resilience of the seemingly ordinary and often overlooked African-American community. Mariana has traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad exploring notions of truth and authenticity in relation to the African Diaspora.
Mariana is a graduate of Louisiana State University and is currently pursuing her Masters at the Institute for Research in African-American Studies at Columbia University.
Nakeya Brown’s photography ranges from spontaneous street photographs, to fashion influenced portraits. Nakeya has a special interest in documenting contemporary African-American experiences usually concentrated to inner-city environments. She believes through her photography she preserves all that will eventually be lost and forgotten; her images serve as time capsules and storytellers.
Nakeya studied Photography and Journalism at Rutgers University. She currently lives and works in New York City.