SOURCE: National Civil Rights Museum

National Civil Rights Museum

May 18, 2016 11:56 ET

"Inspiring Greatness Through Words and Deeds: The Art of Baret Boisson" Comes to the National Civil Rights Museum

MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - May 18, 2016) - The National Civil Rights Museum presents the works of artist Baret Boisson in an exhibit, Inspiring Greatness through Words and Deeds. The exhibit features portraits of heroes like Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Jesse Owens, Joe Louis, Fats Waller, Harvey Milk, Viola Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Muhammad Ali, Billy Jean King, Joe Louis and many others in paintings on canvas, ceramics and painted cigar boxes. The exhibit is showing at the Museum from June 11 to September 6.

Baret Boisson is a Los Angeles artist known for her portraits of historical figures from Abraham Lincoln to Rosa Parks as well as commissioned works for such notables as Elizabeth Taylor, Jimmy Fallon and Kathy Ireland. 

"Baret Boisson['s]… works are national treasures, as they reflect the tapestry of American culture and accomplishment. There is simply no one who captures the essence of the arts, humanitarianism, athletics and humanity in the way that Baret does. We collect her work her work and we love it," said Kathy Ireland, Chair and CEO, Kathy Ireland Worldwide.

Boisson is showing two pieces in the museum's exhibit that have never been publicly displayed. One piece is a portrait of visionary leader Mahatma Gandhi who influenced the nonviolence philosophy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The second painting is entitled, "The Nine," which commemorates the nine victims of the Emanuel A.M.E. Church mass shooting in Charleston, SC in 2015.

"When I began painting the portraits gathered in this upcoming exhibition, I did so without a thought that these pieces would actually make up a series. I was simply painting men and women I admired, ordinary people whose extraordinary vision, courage and strength changed the world for the better," said artist Baret Boisson. "Indeed, while the individuals portrayed may have endured terrible hardships, the message of each piece is uplifting and positive. Their legacies extend beyond the limits of one lifetime into the next, inspiring us to do better today for future generations to come. What has propelled me to portray this seemingly disparate group, is that these individuals' words and actions have moved millions of people to make positive change in the world."

"It is overwhelmingly significant to me that the gallery that will house these pieces is the National Civil Rights Museum," added Boisson. "To me, it's a homecoming of sorts, for the men and women who fought for their rights, for our rights, to all be meeting in these hallowed halls. I imagine them greeting one another, acknowledging the great strides that have been made in the fight for civil rights, and agreeing that we still have a lot of work to do."

Curated by New York based independent curator Christine Minas, the exhibition features over 25 paintings, ceramics and painted cigar boxes. Cigar box subjects include a portrait of Harriet Tubman whose image will be the first of a woman to appear on US currency.

"We're pleased to have the diverse, multi-media work of Baret Boisson on exhibit at the museum this summer," said Dr. Noelle Trent, the museum's Director of Interpretation, Collections and Education. "And that one of the highlights of the exhibition, the MLK, Jr. - 'I Have a Dream' portrait being gifted by Baret Boisson to the museum, will be a great addition to the permanent collection."

Baret Boisson was born in Florence, Italy, to an American couple who were artists. Her family lived throughout Europe in Barcelona, Suriname and French Guyana. Boisson's nomadic life continued into her teen years, each experience a lesson in multiculturalism and diversity that would shape her art. Although she grew up in a creative environment, Boisson did not pursue a career in art until well into adulthood.

As a self-taught artist, Boisson eschews efforts to label or define her style. For her, creating art is a very organic process. Boisson said, "I never had to unlearn someone else's style. I have no desire to follow anyone else's artistic formula, for my art to be anything but a pure expression of who I am at this very moment in time."

About the National Civil Rights Museum

The NATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS MUSEUM, located at the historic Lorraine Motel where civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated, is the only Museum of its kind in the country that gives a comprehensive overview of the American Civil Rights Movement from 1619 to the present. The Museum is intended to bring the movement to life, place the events in a historical perspective and provide a focus of national remembrance. Since the Museum opened in 1991, millions of visitors from around the world have come, including more than 60,000 students annually. Recognized as a center for civil rights and social change, the Museum is steadfast in its mission to share the culture and lessons from the Movement and explore how this significant era continues to shape equality and freedom globally.

Through interactive exhibits, historic collections, storytelling, dynamic speakers and events, the museum offers visitors a chance to walk through history and learn more about a tumultuous and inspiring period of change. Then, invites you to Join the Movement, take a stand and share your voice on issues that impact our society.

An internationally acclaimed cultural institution, the Museum was recognized as USA Today's Top 10 Best American Iconic Attractions; Top 10 Best Historical Spots in the U.S. by TLC's Family Travel; Must See by the Age of 15 by Budget Travel and Kids; Top 10, American Treasures by USA Today; and Best Memphis Attraction by The Commercial Appeal.

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