This Sunday, UofM Art Professor Earnestine Jenkins will deliver a lecture on Harlem Renaissance sculptor Augusta Savage.
“Augusta Savage was one of the first major African American sculptors,” Jenkins said. “She’s part of what used to be called ‘The New Negro Movement’, which is a term that scholars use to describe the burgeoning of black creativity around the 1920s and 1930s. Many people often focus on how the movement was initially focused on the writers, but the creativity was across the board when it came to cultural representation.”
The lecture, which will take place Sunday afternoon at 2.p.m., is titled Augusta Savage: Black Women Artists and Institution Building During the ‘New Negro Movement’. Jenkins devised the lecture in an effort to bring attention to the study of the history of African-American art in Memphis.
“As Jim Crow got stronger and as African American rights were rolled back following the failure of Reconstruction, we still saw an unstoppable creativity bursting forth,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said much of her lecture will focus on the years Savage spent studying in Paris in 1929 as part of the Julius Rosenwald Fellowship.
“Her story is very significant,” Jenkins said. “She brought plenty of influences and contacts that she formed in the United States along with her. In fact, her trip to Paris came as a result of her contact with people like W. E. B. Du Bois and Eugene Kinckle Jones in the 1920s. They were very much interested in the racial uplift, a term used to refer to the political empowerment of the black population, as well as the arts and creative expression in the black community.”
Jenkins’ lecture serves as a lead-in for a series of forthcoming exhibits curated for the Dixon Gallery & Gardens titled Black Artists in America, 1930s-1970s. These exhibits will be unveiled in 2021, 2023 and 2025.
Admission for this event is free with membership to the Dixon Gallery & Gardens, or regular admission price for non-members.