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Eudora Welty’s photograph Tomato Packers’ Recess  (Crystal Springs, MS, 1935-1936), one of 175 works on display for Mississippi’s bicentennial. (Courtesy of the Collection of Mississippi Museum of Art, Jackson. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard L. Miller)

A Look at 200 Years of Mississippi


“One place understood helps us understand all places better,” wrote the Mississippi author Eudora Welty. A new exhibition in honor of her home state’s bicentennial in December aims to present a full picture through the eyes of artists past and present. On December 9, in concurrence with the grand openings of the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, the Mississippi Museum of Art, in Jackson, will open Picturing Mississippi: Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise. With the work of more than a hundred artists on loan from sixty different institutions, the exhibition traces the entirety of the state’s history, from its native people and the first European settlers through slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Civil Rights Movement, and up to the present. “This is a very complicated place,” says the museum’s director, Betsy Bradley, “and the complications affect artists at a very deep level.”  
Among the 175 works on display are an 1826 oil on linen by John James Audubon, pottery by George Ohr, and Depression-era photographs by Welty, alongside Walter Inglis Anderson’s Horn Island, Andy Warhol’s Triple Elvis, textile art by Gwendolyn Magee, and Danny Lyon’s photograph of Bob Dylan playing guitar behind a Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee office in the early sixties. The free exhibit, which runs until July, will be bolstered by a series of film screenings, art and history lectures, musical performances, and a February symposium focusing on art and identity. “The purpose is to provide an opportunity for people to engage in conversations about their state,” Bradley says. “What’s the story of Mississippi and who gets to tell it?”
VIEW ARTWORK FROM THE EXHIBITION

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