Friday, March 9, 2007

A voice from Dixie

This post is filled with small-world type coincidences.

I recently received a notice from Paul McCall that he has a couple of paintings in the Bi-State Art Exhibition at the Meridian Museum, Meridian, Miss. Paul recently moved to Hattiesburg, Miss. from Tacoma. Almost 20 years ago I moved from Hattiesburg to Olympia (and now work in Tacoma -- see the small world stuff). When I was in Hattiesburg, I was also selected to be in that same show.

Paul tells the story of one of his paintings ("Happy Birthday" acrylic on canvas, pictured here):

This piece was inspired by a recent trip to the Hattiesburg City Hall. Upon arriving at City Hall, I found a notice posted at the main entrance stating "City Hall will be closed on January 15, 2007 in observance of Robert E. Lee's and Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday".
Later, I was informed that the only way the State of Mississippi would observe Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday was by attaching Robert E. Lee's name to the observed holiday.

I was shocked and dumbfounded. To my knowledge, Mississippi is the only state that requires the celebration of Robert E. Lee, the confederate general, on the same day as Dr. King's. Robert E. Lee's birthday is not even on the same day!

Robert E. Lee was a warrior, a matador, and a bigot.
Dr. King was a man of peace, and a religious leader who loved all people, especially the poor, and ultimately sacrificed his life for the cause of peace and equality of all people.

McCall has also been working on a series of portraits of survivors of Hurricane Katrina. He has donated four framed charcoal portraits from the series to "Unmasking New Orleans," a home- grown multimedia experience and silent auction in Portland, Ore., benefiting The Alliance for Affordable Energy - a 20 year old New Orleans nonprofit dedicated to green building and wetland restoration.

The 34th Annual Bi-State Art Exhibition & Competition will run from March 17 through April 14, at the Meridian Museum of Art (628 25th Ave. Meridian, MS).

Unmasking New Orleans takes place March 10 starting at 7p.m. at the AudioCinema (226 SE Madison St. Portland, OR).

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