JOHN DOWELL– PHOTO EXHIBITION ON COTTON

Laurence Miller Gallery presents the New York City debut of John Dowell’s COTTON: Symbol of the Forgotten. Dowell blends a unique mixture of spiritualism, historical awareness, racial angst and deft technique to create photographic works that inspire the viewer to recognize the injustices imposed upon the black community, especially in New York, over the past 400 years.

Throughout the exhibition, featuring more than two dozen photographic works made between 2016 and 2018, Dowell weaves together – both literally and figuratively –complex historical threads addressing issues of slavery, community, and memory, all intertwined with cotton.  Several of the works are large panoramas, reinforcing the idea of the vastness of cotton across the southern American landscape, as well as the long-term cultural and financial impact that cotton had on the African-Americans who harvested it for their white masters.

Laurence Miller Gallery presents the New York City debut of John Dowell’s COTTON: Symbol of the Forgotten. Dowell blends a unique mixture of spiritualism, historical awareness, racial angst and deft technique to create photographic works that inspire the viewer to recognize the injustices imposed upon the black community, especially in New York, over the past 400 years.

Throughout the exhibition, featuring more than two dozen photographic works made between 2016 and 2018, Dowell weaves together – both literally and figuratively –complex historical threads addressing issues of slavery, community, and memory, all intertwined with cotton.  Several of the works are large panoramas, reinforcing the idea of the vastness of cotton across the southern American landscape, as well as the long-term cultural and financial impact that cotton had on the African-Americans who harvested it for their white masters.

 Seneca Village was a settlement of mostly African American landowners in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, within present-day Central Park. The settlement was located on about 5 acres (2.0 ha) approximately bounded by where 82nd and 89th Streets and Seventh and Eighth Avenues would have been constructed.

Seneca Village was founded in 1825 by free blacks, the first such community in the city. At its peak, the community had three churches, a school, and two cemeteries, as well as 264 residents. Later the settlement came to be inhabited by several other minorities, including Irish and German immigrants. Seneca Village existed until 1857 when, through eminent domain, the villagers and other settlers in the area were ordered to leave and their houses torn down for the construction of Central Park. The entirety of the village was dispersed except for one congregation that relocated, and to date no descendants of Seneca Village have been identified.

Several vestiges of Seneca Village’s existence have been found over the years, including two graves and a burial plot. The settlement was largely forgotten until the publication of Roy Rosenzweig and Elizabeth Blackmar’s book The Park and the People: A History of Central Park in 1992. The Seneca Village Project was formed in 1998 to raise awareness of the village, and several archeological digs have been performed. In 2001, a historical plaque was unveiled, commemorating the site where Seneca Village once stood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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