Painting of Coretta Scott King by John Sebelius
Category : MulvaneExhibits, MulvaneHome
Date: Tue 09/28/21 12:00AM - Sat 12/11/21 12:00AM
Location: Main Level, South Gallery

This exhibition presents five painted portraits by Lawrence-based artist John Sebelius depicting “powerful women,” Gwendolyn Brooks, Shirley Chisholm, Coretta Scott King, Toni Morrison, and Maxine Waters, in juxtaposition with photographic portraits of the same individuals by award-winning photojournalist Brian Lanker, taken in the 1980s. Working over thirty years apart, both artists sought/seek to portray women writers, activists, politicians, and celebrities to highlight their contributions to American history and culture. Despite the decades separating the artists’ distinct projects, both series portray many of the same African American women. Placed in conversation with Lanker’s concise and perfectly composed photographs, Sebelius’s colorful paintings convey an exuberant immediacy, demonstrating the continued relevancy of the former artist’s photo series, as well as the contributions of each of the women represented.

John Sebelius is an interdisciplinary artist who holds an MFA from the University of Kansas and a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. Sebelius’s work has been featured in: Harper’s, CNN, and The Washington Post. He has exhibited at many prestigious institutions including Vermont Studio Center, Kansas City Artists Coalition, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Sebelius spent the past three years in his studio, generating the paintings which comprise his Powerful Women series.

Brian Lanker (American, 1947 - 2011) was an American photographer. He won the 1973 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Photography for a black-and-white photo essay on childbirth for The Topeka Capital-Journal, including the photograph Moment of Life. In 2019, the Mulvane Art Museum acquired his acclaimed portraits, I Dream A World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America. The series celebrates some of the most influential figures of the 20th century as well as many unsung heroes that changed America in their own distinct ways.

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