We know D.C. Get our free newsletter to stay in the know.

Success! You're on the list.


“My teachers impressed upon me that collecting art was an affirmation of one’s own participation in his or her own culture,” David Driskell says. His furrowed forehead speaks of a man who has known many rivers. Captured in his mind, at one time or another, have been the many images of the black experience that the 67-year-old artist, scholar, and historian has spent his life archiving. Now featured in the exhibit “Narratives of African American Art and Identity: The David C. Driskell Collection” are 100 paintings, sculptures, and drawings by renowned African-American artists, including Romare Bearden, Lois Mailou Jones, Henry O. Tanner, and Richmond Barthe (whose Untitled (Head of a Man)is pictured), that spans 110 years of the history of black art in America. Starting with those who paved the way and had to conform to Western ideals of art in order to be accepted, the works then represent the move North to Harlem and the South Side where blacks were excluded from mainstream establishments and formed their own organizations. Soon they began to develop a separate identity, reclaim aspects of their African heritage, and fight for political and social change. Driskell was the first person to get the White House to add black art to its collection, and, though it’s hard to picture the revolutionary in an art class, he taught Stokely Carmichael. Exhibit on view to Dec. 19 in the Art Gallery (Room 1202); “Re-envisioning the Diaspora” symposium from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 23, at the University of Maryland’s Art/Sociology Building, Adelphi Road & University Blvd., College Park. Free. For reservations (symposium only) call (301) 405-2763. (Ayesha Morris)