STORY WRITTEN BY BRIAN BINGAMAN
The African-American Museum in Philadelphia’s summer exhibitions offer quite an education.
“Distant Echoes: Black Farmers in America” features the work of veteran photojournalist John Francis Ficara. The often-challenging lives and working conditions of farmers from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Michigan are represented in nearly 60 images. Ficara’s photographic essay of crop, cattle, chicken, sugarcane, dairy and tobacco farmers depicts both struggle and triumph, including everyday battles through poverty, discrimination and economic shifts.
“Syd Carpenter: More Places of Our Own” is kind of a companion exhibit to “Distant Echoes.” Carpenter, a Philadelphia artist, Swarthmore College art professor and Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellow, represents the African-American agricultural experience within the context of sculpture. Wall-mounted sculptures were inspired by landscape architect Richard Westmacott’s study of African-American farming that mapped a series of black farms in the south. Clay and steel floor sculptures were inspired by her recent travels through Georgia and South Carolina. Each sculpture is named for the farm it commemorates.
Carpenter’s work is in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, University of Illinois, Canton Museum of Art, Erie Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institute, and the Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute in Jingdezhen, China.
Both are on view through Aug. 17.
Located at 701 Arch St., hours at the AAMP are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, noon to 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $14, $10 for children 4-12, students and seniors. Call (215) 574-0380, visit www.aampmuseum.org or www.facebook.com/TheAAMP. Follow them on Twitter @aampmuseum and check out the “aampmuseum” channel on YouTube.