Jennifer Mack Watkins Portrait 2 photo by Elizabeth Brooks ec824

Jennifer Mack-Watkins’s Newest Exhibit is An Ode to the Beauty of Black Youth

by Sydney Jackson

Art is a medium that has the power to bring people together and to share the lives and experiences of those who may feel unheard and forgotten about. With her talents as both an artist and a storyteller, Jennifer Mack-Watkins’s exhibit “Children of the Sun” provides a look into the world of being a Black child growing up during an era of struggle, fear, and uncertainty. This exhibit is meant to provide a space where Black children can be celebrated and uplifted. 

According to her press release for the exhibit, Mack-Watkins’s inspiration came from both the early 1920s and a story from 1891 centering around an African-American schoolgirl who was told to “recite a white-written poem while holding a caricatured Black doll…,” and thus decided to use doll-imagery as the basis for her central theme. Such pieces will include the beautiful prints of “Faith,” “Carter,” “Black Boy Hope,” and “Emma.” 

Jennifer Mack Watkins Process 16 photo by Elizabeth Brooks ec26a

The exhibit will be presented at The Brattleboro Museum & Art Center in New York from March 18 to June 13, 2021. It will feature 14 various-sized works all centering around the magazine, The Brownies’ Book. Mac-Watkins’s states that her intention for creating these art pieces was to “further her ongoing investigation of the beauty, importance, and complexity of positive representation of African-American children in literature, media, and pop-culture.” She also credits her experience as a mother of two children for the drive behind creating her work. 

You can access the virtual tour for the exhibit here.

Photos provided courtesy of Elizabeth Brooks 

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