Jewel-like watercolor collages bring to life the message of Martin Luther King, Jr., and tell the story of Rosa Parks, Langston Hughes, and other important figures and chapters in American history, in the exhibition Defining Moments: Works by Bryan Collier. The show opened at Joslyn Art Museum
continues through April 11 in the Museums Minds Eye Gallery.
Utilizing shape and color, combined with texture much as he saw his grandmother do while making quilts when he was a boy Bryan Collier has created stunning pictures, with layers of meaning, for over a dozen childrens books. Collier began painting as a teenager and graduated from Pratt Institute in New York before channeling his love of art into a career as a book illustrator and author. A resident of Harlem, Collier feels a deep sense of responsibility to be a positive role model for children and, for years, has volunteered with a teen art program at the Harlem Horizon Studio. He also spends time in classrooms talking with teachers, librarians, and students about books and art encouraging children to share their own experiences, tell their own stories.
Original art from Martins Big Words and Rosa, for which Collier received the prestigious Caldecott Honor Award in 2002 and 2006, respectively, and Uptown, which garnered the Coretta Scott King Award and the Ezra Jack Keats New Illustrator Award, as well as Johns Secret Dreams, a book about John Lennon which the artist described as the greatest challenge of his career, are featured in Defining Moments. In all, works from eight of his books are on view.