Monday, June 15, 2015
Four years have passed since my last official visit to the Mississippi Museum of Art. My art class traveled to Jackson and spent the day looking at The Mississippi Story, discovering how art has shaped the state’s history and culture. Each student had to pick three pieces and analyze them, and I remember wandering throughout the galleries searching for a piece that struck me. Finally, I stumbled across The Portrait of Sister Thea Bowman by Marshall Bouldin III, and my world was rocked. The joy and hope captured in this portrait was a quality I had not seen in portraiture, Mississippi based or not.
For instance, this past spring, I traveled to London to study for a semester and had the privilege of roaming around world famous museums and galleries: The Victoria and Albert Museum, the National Gallery, the Courtauld Gallery, the Wallace Collection, and several more.
I was moved by the pieces which I had learned about in art classes, such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers or a Dale Chihuly chandelier, but when looking at portraits by Titian or Van Dyck, my mind always wandered back to that portrait in the MMA. Although beautiful, the portraits of royals or noblemen lacked a certain pathos, which I saw in The Portrait of Sister Thea Bowman, and I looked back at The Mississippi Story, although now a bit hazy, with pride.
After being away from Mississippi for a few months and the MMA for a few years, I am excited about this opportunity to rediscover Mississippi through the eyes of artists and to bring some of what I experience and learn to others. As the Marketing/Public Relations intern at the museum this summer, I will be learning how to bring art to the public and how to bring the public to the art, which is a task I am extremely passionate about.