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About the Current Exhibit
200 Years Toward Freedom: The Legacy of Sojourner Truth

In commemoration of the 200th anniversary in 1997 of Sojourner Truth's birth, the Art Center of Battle Creek organized this special exhibition, 200 Years Toward Freedom: The Legacy of Sojourner Truth. Ten Michigan artists were asked to create a work of art reflecting the life and ideals of this historic Battle Creek resident.
Artists responded in various ways, creating artworks that contemplate the many facets of Sojourner Truth's life. Reginald Gammon and James Watkins drew on a photographic portrait Sojourner used as a calling card for inspiration. Others, like Ed Wong-Ligda's painting of Sojourner with sheep and Peggy Michael's painting of Sojourner with her son, capture specific events in Sojourner's life. More conceptual pieces were created also. Peter William's use of the church form in his mixed media sculpture addresses the spirituality of American culture while referring to Sojourner through the use of the Lincoln postal stamps. Carol Novak studies the interior conflicts of a woman activist while Al La Vergne's bronze figure shows the strength inherent in idealism. Political issues are touched on as well, as in Dwight Smith's painting which speaks to the reclamation of a culture's history and ideology through its symbolism.

200 Years Toward Freedom: The Legacy of Sojourner Truth is more than a commemorative exhibition or a memorializing of one person's life. It shows us how very far we have to go to end racism, sexism and oppression. Sojourner Truth is famous for dedicating her life to these causes, but the road still stretches out before us. The life of Sojourner Truth can continue to inspire us to carry on her life's work, to work toward freedom.

Thanks to the Sojourner Truth 200th Anniversary Committee, National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc., United Arts Council of Calhoun County and Gannett Communities Fund, Michigan Council for the Arts and Cultural Affairs, and the Binda Foundation for helping underwrite this exhibition and related events. The Arts Center receives operating support from the Institute of Museum Services.

 

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