Leaving Mississippi – Reflections on Heroes and Folklore: Works by Najee Dorsey
August 21, 2014 – January 4, 2015
“In the work I do, I present an American experience through the lens of my African-American perspective,” says Najee Dorsey. In the exhibition Leaving Mississippi – Reflections on Heroes and Folklore, Dorsey’s Mississippi Delta roots emerge as he pays homage to a cast of colorful characters, historic events, and conditions of Southern life while creating commentary about current economic and social conditions in America. The mixed-media works in the exhibition showcase a number of the heroes of the civil rights movements, participants of civil disobedience in the early 20th century, and folklore legends including Dangerfield Newby, Bass Reeves, and Robert Charles. The work combines themes that have interested Dorsey for the past few years: journeys that people embark upon as they search for a better life, and the resistance of those who stay where they are to fight the powers that be. The artist uses a variety of materials, including photographic imagery, ripped paper, paint and found objects. Each composition blends multiple textures, colors, and layers to make the stories tangible for viewers.
Born and raised in the Delta and now a resident of the Columbus area, Dorsey has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. He has been the recipient of awards that include a 2006 Patrons Purchase Award from the Polk Museum of Art. His work can be found in the collections of Charles H. Wright Museum; Syracuse University; the African American Museum in Dallas, TX; the Marietta Museum of Art, FL; and Liberty Bank and Trust Company in New Orleans, LA. In 2010, Dorsey created the website Black Art in America (BAIA), the leading global social network and resource for African-American visual artists, collectors, industry leaders, and arts enthusiasts.