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Jacob Lawrence, Peering Through History’s Cracks


Jacob Lawrence’s “And a Woman Mans a Cannon,” Panel 12, 1955. The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle," currently showing at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the focus of Yinka Elujoba' s piece for the New York Times. Elujoba looks at the ways in which Lawrence’s oeuvre has been marked by reframing American history, with a particular eye on how Black citizens have shaped the social and political landscape.

“Artists have always doubled as historians, and much of what we know today about past civilizations and empires comes from the art that survived their fall. Lawrence’s work will come to be seen as a juggernaut among American historical documents. But the most powerful inclusions are the blank panels, whose content remains unknown. Positioning themselves as blind spots, they remind us that, when it comes to history, nobody has the full picture.” - Yinka Elujoba