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Black History Month exhibit links popular culture, reading & success

  • Written by Tri-State Defender Newsroom
Titled “Crossroads:  From Sagging to Success,” an exhibit by South Memphis-born artist Emery Franklin will be on display in the Library Gallery at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue throughout Black History Month.  Titled “Crossroads: From Sagging to Success,” an exhibit by South Memphis-born artist Emery Franklin will be on display in the Library Gallery at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, 3030 Poplar Avenue throughout Black History Month.



South Memphis-born artist Emery Franklin (right) with Congressman Steve Cohen and State Rep. Larry Miller and Franklin’s likeness of President Obama. (Courtesy photo)


The exhibit, which showcases popular culture and stresses the importance of reading to individual success, will be available for viewing from Feb. 1 through Feb. 28 during library hours. An opening reception is planned for Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 5 p.m. in the Library Gallery.

As with much of his artwork, his series of 15 oil paintings on canvas in the “Crossroads” exhibit is an expression of the rich heritage of African Americans. In this case, Franklin juxtaposes the “pants on the ground” fashion of sagging with other images and positive role models.

Students, teachers, youth and community groups are encouraged to attend the free exhibit.

The youngest of six children, Franklin says that the “Crossroads” series offers a positive statement about wearing different styles of clothing and illustrates the power of positive thinking. The exhibit points to books and reading as the way to overcome struggles and achieve individual success.

Franklin’s interest in art has deep roots. He received the first realization and validation of his talent while a student at Vance Junior High School.

A graduate of Booker T. Washington High School, he was commissioned in 1998 to create cover art for the Memphis Black Heritage Calendar. His pieces have been featured at the National Civil Rights Museum (in 2004 and 2006) and at the Vesta Home Show (in 2006). His paintings and drawings can be seen in local galleries, offices, homes and throughout the United States.

Franklin’s works are currently on display at Artitudes, Gallery Fifty Six , Planet Art and Water Kolours in Memphis as well as E and S Gallery in Louisville, Ky.

He was recently profiled for an episode of the “Tennessee Crossroads” television show scheduled for broadcast on Thursday, January 27, 7 p.m. on WKNO-TV Channel 10 (PBS).

Franklin and his family reside in Arlington, Tenn.

(For more information, visit http://fineartamerica.com/profiles/emery-franklin.html.)

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