South African artist Zwelethu Mthethwa is in town making portraits for a project about the integration of Richmond public schools.
Photo by Lauren Lyon.
Organized by the Anderson Gallery, the exhibition A Community Remembers: Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond will pair oral-history panels, excerpted from individual interviews by University of Richmond professor Laura Browder, with Mthethewa’s large-scale photographic portraits of approximately 24 Richmond residents—now in their fifties and sixties—whose lives were altered by their experiences as children and youth in the civil rights movement.
For two weeks Mthethwa is meeting with these residents and taking their portraits in locations relevant to their childhood experiences. This project has taken Mthethwa to places as varied as Thomas Jefferson and George Wythe High Schools, Byrd and Maymont Parks,the Federal Reserve building, and to a farm in Manakin Sabot. A number of VCU Photo/Film students enrolled in the course Portrait as Community are assisting Zwelethu on these shoots, and all of the students met with him to review projects of their own that engage local communities.