Painter and Poet: The Art of Ashley Bryan

Portland Museum of Art

Portland ME

03 AUG 2018 - 25 NOV 2018
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Author and artist Ashley Bryan’s remarkable career spans more than half a century. At a young age, Bryan noticed the lack of children’s books with African American characters. Through his work as an artist, author, and educator, he has committed himself to filling that void in black representation by creating books about the African and African American experiences. Since his first illustrated volume of poems in 1967, Bryan has published more than 50 titles. A masterful storyteller through both words and visuals, Bryan sources inspiration from a variety of cultural sources including African folktales, spirituals, poetry, and music. The result is vibrant, visually and emotionally resonant work that crosses cultural and racial divides, illustrating the power of art to highlight the common human experience. While many of Bryan’s publications are illustrated children’s books, the original works of art from these publications appeal to all ages because, as Bryan notes, he strives for his work to be “like a bridge reaching across distances of time and space.”