This past weekend, we were privileged to see the powerful movie Selma directed by Ava Duvernay and starring David Oyewolo as Dr. Martin Luther King. While watching the movie, I was reminded of this powerful image by prominent artist Jacob Lawrence. It is a depiction of the actual horrific experience in which peaceful demonstrators were met with the cruel hatred of racist individuals while trying to cross the Edmund Petis bridge in Selma, Alabama in the year of 1965. Here is a list of three simple reasons why art from past generations tends to reflect current issues in modern culture.
1. History Repeats Itself
One of the most amazing aspects from the film Selma is that many of the racial issues that our country faced over 40 years ago is happening today.
2. Artistic Expression is Timeless
While in certain areas, we continue to evolve in others we stay the same. The arts express the core of our humanity which struggles to evolve.
3. Art is Inspirational
Many artists from the past wanted to remind society of the worst of ourselves by creating dark images that reflected human behavior. They wanted to inspire us to develop into better versions of ourselves.
We hope that you have the opportunity to see this amazing film and use the image by Jacob Lawrence to discuss how it relates to our present situation in the United States with your students or child. Also in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King day, make sure to download our free coloring sheet featuring Dr. King.
Jacob Lawrence, Confrontation at the Bridge, 1975, 19" x 25", Silkscreen Print, Reed College Art Collection
Alicia L. McDaniel
Alicia L. McDaniel is the author and creator of Great Art Lessons for the Creative Soul. She is also an educator, professional artist, and lover of the arts.
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