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Sullivan Goss is pleased to announce the gallery’s first solo exhibition of handmade letterpress prints by AMOS KENNEDY. This exhibition was prepared in conjunction with the 50 th anniversary of both Martin Luther King, Jr’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech as well as the tragic bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. There will be a reception and talk on 1st Thursday, August 1st from 5­ - 8pm.

The exhibition includes 136 fans printed with the names of people who were murdered in the civil rights struggle from 1934 to 1968. Names such as Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, and Viola Liuzzo hang next to heroes now largely forgotten. Their names are printed on hand­held fans – the kind used to cool off during a hot Sunday sermon. In correlation with the fans are state maps, each printed with the number of people murdered during the struggle to bring voting rights and equality to that state. The maps cover the struggle as far north as New York and as far south as Florida.


Another body of work features lyrics from civil rights songs printed on state maps. Some of the songs were adapted from slave spirituals such as Keep your hand on the plow/Hold on, which was adapted for the cause to be sung as Keep your eyes on the prize/Hold on. A map of Mississippi has been smeared with the red letters “Goddam” bringing to mind the lyrics for the famous Nina Simone song, Mississippi Goddam, one of the anthems for the civil rights movement.

Included in the work are strong statements about voter’s rights that were fought for in the 60s and 70s and are, due to recent events in Washington, a timely reminder that the fight is not over. 

Amos Kennedy describes himself as a printer first and an artist second. After working in the corporate world, he quit to become what he calls "a humble negro printer.” He received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin. Amos now works in Detroit, Michigan. Using Vandercook, Heidelberg, Asbern, and FAG presses, he makes posters, cards and artists books with handset type. Amos has shown all over the United States and in Italy.


4:01 | Susan Bush

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