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Acts of Faith Selections from the Will and Cheryl Sutton Collection

This exhibition celebrates spiritual experience through the eyes of notable 20th and 21st Century African American artists. Faith, and the tenacity to act upon it, is a central theme among the artworks. Christian imagery is noticeably dominant, as it is important in the life of each of these artists.

The community-building practice of attending church on Sundays is one recurring theme. Gilbert Young documents families in pews using the Order of Service as his sketchbook,

Gilbert Young (b. 1941), Our Sick and Shut In, n.d., Ballpoint ink on paper

and Benny Andrews deftly captures the spirit of a couple standing for a hymn.

Benny Andrews, Hymnal, 1991, Pen and ink paper
It is Will and Cheryl Sutton hope that sharing their collection with others will foster understanding and wisdom in our community and beyond.

Allan Crite takes a more symbolic approach to the Christian experience, portraying the Evangelists through use of powerfully modern line and text. References to religious practices traced to West Africa also appear in some works, seamlessly sharing the image space.

Allan R. Crite (1910 - 2007), St. Mark, 1980 & St. Luke, 1980 - Linocut

Though faith may be a primarily religious concept, its meaning extends beyond purely religious confines. Faith denotes a sincere allegiance to someone or something. This could be an idea, or even one’s own individual strength and potential.

The linocuts by Elizabeth Catlett celebrate three notable African-American women who fought in different ways for emancipation and civil rights – especially rights for Women of Color.

These women are portrayed as powerful leaders, preachers and prophets of freedom and equity.

Elizabeth Catlett (1915 - 2012): Harriet Tubman, 1947, Linocut and Phyllis Wheatley, 1946, Linocut
Elizabeth Catlett (1915 - 2012), Sojouner Truth, 1946, Linocut

Similarly, Stephanie Jackson’s lithograph Dark Madonna of the Desire Projects draws a parallel between the sanctity and serenity of the Virgin Mary and Christ, with a mother and her son in one of New Orleans’ poorest and most notorious public housing projects.

Stephanie Jackson, Dark Madonna of the Desire Projects, n.d., Lithograph

These remarkable women demonstrate to the viewer not only spiritual faith, but also hope, determination, and a commendable confidence.

Pieces by Michael D. Harris

Michael D. Harris, A Love Supreme, 1999, Mixed Media Collage

Michael D. Harris, Six, 1999, Mixed Media Collage

Michael D. Harris, Six, 1999, Mixed Media Collage

Michael D. Harris, Train A Child, 1999, Mixed Media Collage

Variations of Acts of Faith have been exhibited previously in Northeast Louisiana, and The Gallery by Origin Bank is thrilled to show such a celebrated group of artist before a new audience.

The exhibition is on loan from local collectors, Will and Cheryl Sutton.

It is their hope that sharing their collection with others will foster understanding and wisdom in our community and beyond.

Benny Andrews (1930 - 2006), Prophet, 1962, Oil and Collage

The inspiration and foundation for their collecting and exhibiting efforts can be found in the words of Proverbs 24:3, “Through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established; by knowledge the rooms are filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”

Willie Birch, Woman Ironing, 1989
Created By
Erin Davenport
Appreciate

Credits:

Work provided from the collection of Will and Cheryl Sutton

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