Opening Reception: Curtis Woody’s A Sketch of Slavery in the District of Columbia
May 2, 2018 –
Join Dumbarton House for the opening of multi-media artist, Curtis Woody’s A Sketch of Slavery in the District of Columbia. His exhibit opens in conjunction with two other exhibitions, 100 DOLLARS REWARD. and The Exchange 2018/2, that explore the history of slavery in Georgetown. The evening will also include performing artists, who explore issues of race and gender. Tour the museum, explore art, and enjoy wine and cheese.
About the Exhibit
For the exhibition, A Sketch of Slavery in the District of Columbia, Maryland-based artist Woody has created work specifically for Dumbarton House to reflect upon the experience of slavery in Washington, D.C., at this particular time in history. According to the artist, he seeks to “draw inspiration from historical connections that link individuals, families, generations, and communities.” His work seeks to breathe new life into — and enhance the unique characteristics of — a common historical heritage. He writes, “My richly layered work invites viewers to step in closer, explore details, and create or reflect on their own stories of connection. Because of the multi-layering it is my expectation that the paintings become thoughtful, spiritual, interesting and sensitive creations.”
One of the challenges for Dumbarton House in the development of the 100 DOLLAR REWARD. exhibition was the lack of primary sources left by enslaved and free blacks. This made it difficult to create a picture of what daily life was like for enslaved and free blacks living in Georgetown from their own perspective. Woody was able to gather resources from libraries, databases, and scraps of material from Dumbarton including metal locks, wallpaper, and letters written about the enslaved and indentured in the residence to create new artworks reflecting a time of slavery in Georgetown.
His work and the exhibition serve as a companion to a historical timeline and narrative gathered by Dumbarton House scholars from other sources including census records, Dumbarton House archives, period maps, church archives and neighboring museum archives, including Tudor Place, the Octagon House, and the White House Historical Society.