“Picturing Mississippi, 1817-2017: Land of Plenty, Pain and Promise” at the Mississippi Museum of Art will feature work from George Caleb Bingham. Photo courtesy Mississippi Museum of Art
A nondescript U.S. Army Officer sits on a horse; behind him, a line of Native Americans with blankets draped across their shoulders stand staring across the water and into the unknown. Most of the people are looking in the same direction, except for a woman, who gazes at the soldier.
"Gone But Not Forgotten" by Benny Andrews will be one of the pieces on display during the "Picturing Mississippi, 1817-2017: Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise" exhibit at the Mississippi Museum of Art.
In the upcoming exhibit, works from 100 artists totaling 175 individual pieces will be on display.
MMA's website says that, with the exhibit, the museum aims to coincide with the state's bicentennial celebration, which includes the opening of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History.
"This is a story that continually evolves," Jochen Wierich, the museum's interim chief curator, says. "We are including pieces that reflect Mississippi's 200-year history, but even go beyond that before statehood. Artistic expressions capture the beauty and harshness of the land, race relationships, struggle for racial justice, response to civil rights. Artists seek to define themselves, and through that definition comes their viewpoint on growing up here. They add a unique sensibility to a place, wholly different from any other depiction."
The exhibit will have pieces from artists whose work depicts Mississippi in some way, including George Caleb Bingham, Robert Indiana, James Audubon, Louis Bahin, Thomas Hart Benton and John Steuart Curry, and native Mississippians such as James Tooley, Jr., Eudora Welty, William Dunlap and Randy Hayes. It will have sculpture, prints, photography, paintings and even reproductions of black-and-white photos for the Works Progress Administration.
"The two biggest themes in this exhibit can be posed by the following questions: 'Where have we been?' and 'Where are we going?'," Wierich says.
"Picturing Mississippi, 1817-2017: Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise" will be on display at the Mississippi Museum of Art (380 S. Lamar St., 601-960-1515) from Dec. 9, 2017, until July 8, 2018. For more information, visit msmuseumart.org.