Exhibit of African-American historical artifacts to open at SMC Barrett gallery
The Santa Monica College Pete and Susan Barrett Art Gallery will present African American Treasures: History and Art from the Collection of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, beginning Tuesday, Feb. 12 through March 9.
An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 16 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the gallery in the SMC Performing Arts Center, 11th Street at Santa Monica Boulevard. A book signing and gallery tour will precede the reception from 4 to 5 p.m.
Held during African-American Heritage Month, the show has toured eight cities and been seen by more than three million visitors.
The Kinseys, of Pacific Palisades, have explored and celebrated their African-American heritage by collecting items of historical and cultural significance throughout their more than 40-year marriage, a gallery spokesperson notes. Their collection includes a copy of an early version of the Emancipation Proclamation, correspondence between civil rights activist Malcolm X and “Roots” author Alex Haley, and a reproduction of a 1773 first-edition copy of poems by Phillis Wheatley.
The collection spans nearly four centuries and documents the hardships and triumphs of the African-American experience, say gallery organizers.
The exhibit will feature 26 original artworks and nearly 40 original items, artifacts, articles, posters, graphics, writings, photos and books – with detailed information next to each piece explaining their significance, according to gallery director Marian Winsryg. The historical pieces will be in chronological order with original artworks interspersed throughout.
“This is an extraordinary collection that will give our students and community a unique and up-close perspective on the profound African-American cultural and historic impact on the United States,” Winsryg said.
This is the first time pieces from the collection have been at an institution of higher education, to the delight of the Kinseys, who have lectured at colleges and universities throughout the U.S. and China, Winsryg added.
“We love talking to young people about American history and the achievements of the African-American community,” Bernard Kinsey said. “Our collection brings to light the extraordinary triumphs and accomplishments of our ancestors and in doing so give these individuals a voice, a personality and a name,” he said.
An illustrated, 198-page coffee table book, “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey – Where Art and History Intersect,” accompanies the exhibition.
For gallery information, (310) 434-3434.