The Joshua and Mary Swift collection: A review | Rock Candy

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Joshua and Mary Swift collection: A review

Posted By on Mon, Feb 1, 2016 at 11:41 AM

click to enlarge children_photo_2_.jpg

This week's Eye Candy arts column
is about the exhibition "Photographic Arts: African American Studio Photography from the Joshua and Mary Swift Collection," post-Civil War and early 20th century portraiture, now in Concordia Hall of the Arkansas Studies Institute. 

The collection is one of a kind: rather than scenes of African Americans dragging long cotton bags or in other situations that speak to the tragedy of slavery and ensuing peonage, these are family portraits. Here, the men, women and children are dignified and shown to their best advantage — as are all our families in portraiture.

Many have been enhanced with watercolor or drawing; the photograph above of children is reminiscent of the paintings of Carroll Cloar, quite beautiful as well as charming.

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