|Vol. 17, No. 15||Dec. 18, 1997|
Beginning Jan. 6 and running through April 5, the University Gallery in Old College will present the exhibition, "Through These Eyes: The Photographs of P.H. Polk," celebrating the centennial of the birth of this important and influential African-American artist.
From 1928 to 1938, Prentice Herman Polk taught photography at Tuskegee Institute (now University) in Alabama, and in 1933 he became the third chairperson of the photography department at that school.
From 1939 until his death in 1984, he held the position of official photographer at Tuskegee University and, having one of the few private studios in the Macon County area, also became a well-known portrait photographer during his lifetime.
Polk's images of Southern life-from the dignitaries who visited Tuskegee, and the middle-class African Americans who frequented his private studio, to the farmers and laborers who worked the cotton fields of rural Macon County- exemplify the photographer's keen ability for telling a riveting human story through the camera's eye.
Included in this exhibition are vintage photographs of the acclaimed scientist, George Washington Carver-in his lab conducting experiments, in the fields surveying crop conditions, lecturing students and pursuing leisure activities. Carver, like Polk, served as both an educator and a mentor for the students of Tuskegee and inspired many throughout the nation. Polk's photographs of Carver provide an extraordinary vehicle for communicating the truth and legend of this charismatic and renowned figure.
After its UD run, the exhibition will travel nationally with the venues and dates to be announced. An illustrated catalog will accompany the exhibition with contributions from scholars and experts in the fields of photography, Southern social history and the African-American experience. Numerous interpretive programs are planned for the public, including guest lectures, gallery tours, films, and special events for families.
An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 9, from 6-9 p.m. The reception is preceded at 5 p.m. by a discussion and exhibition tour with art historian, Amalil K. Amaki of Spelman College, Atlanta, who will present "To Make a Picture: The Photography of P.H. Polk." At 7:30 p.m., bass-baritone Kenneth Andersen, accompanied by George Broske, will perform musical selections based on a "river" theme. (In the event of inclement weather, the opening reception will take place one week later, from 6-9 p.m., Friday, Jan, 16.)
The exhibition, catalog and special programs were made possible with the financial support of Mr. and Mrs. Edward G. Jefferson, Chase Manhattan Foundation, AT&T Foundation, Doris and H.B. Massey Charitable Trust, Delaware Division of the Arts, and the University of Delaware's Black American Studies Program, Faculty Senate Committee on Cultural Activities and Public Events, Office of Affirmative Action and Multicultural Programs and the Visiting Women Scholars Program.
All University Gallery events are free and open to the public.
For more information, call 831-8242, fax 831-8251 or TDD 831-4563. Visit the University Gallery on-line at http://seurat.art.udel.edu