Look closely at the artworks below.
Jacob Lawrence, The Migration Series, Panel no. 3: From every southern town migrants left by the hundreds to travel north, 1940-41. Casein tempera on hardboard, 12 x 18 in. The Phillips Collection, Acquired 1942; © 2016 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Here, we see Allan deSouza’s No Entry paired with Jacob Lawrence’s Panel no. 3 from The Migration Series.
Jacob Lawrence depicts the broad and complex migration of African-Americans from the South to the North. The 60-panel series captures themes of struggle, hope, triumph, and adversity.
Lawrence tells a story that reminds us of our shared history and invites us to reflect on the universal theme of struggle in the world today:
To me, migration means movement. There was conflict and struggle. But out of the struggle came a kind of power and even beauty. ‘And the migrants kept coming’ is not only a refrain used as the caption for Panel no. 60…, but it is also a refrain of triumph over adversity. If it rings true for you today, then it must still strike a chord in our American experience.
- Lawrence used varied shapes and lines to convey a sense of movement in his artwork. In Panel no. 3, Lawrence clusters the migrants in a triangular shape and juxtaposes that image against the formation of migrating birds.