Source: The Mill District
Artist, activist and local nephrology specialist, Dr. Shirley Jackson Whitaker, will bring her etchings, paintings, and storytelling to the Front Window Gallery at The Mill District’s Local Art Gallery, 91 Cowls Road, for a new exhibit that will run through the end of June. Whitaker weaves her love of art into all aspects of her life, connecting medical conundrums to trauma, to racism, to ongoing lynching, and then to canvas and the page. Social Justice and a healthy community are her goals. A protégé of renowned artist Leonard Baskin, Whitaker uses her talent in etchings, drawings, paintings, photography, children’s books, and cinematography to “roar for change.”
Her art is in the Library of Congress, the Getty Research Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of Virginia, Wellesley College, Boston Athenaeum, Smith College and private art galleries.
Through the Shirley Jackson Whitaker Foundation, sale of merchandise portraying her work supports advocacy for African Americans, the Black community, and the celebration of Black culture. Whitaker also created the award-winning documentary Ashes to Ashes, directed by Taylor Rees. The film shares the life pain of lynching survivor Mr. Winfred Rembert, and provides a long-overdue memorial to the more than two million Black lives during the middle passages and the 3,999 documented lynchings that took place in America between 1877 and 1950. After the film debuted in 2016, Whitaker worked with Michael Kuch of the Double Elephant Press in Northampton to produce a book of etching to honor the event.
Additional artists making their formal Local Art Gallery debuts on April 28 include Judy Vazquez of Northampton (mosaic art); Lee Gray of Bernardston (folk art); David A. Dickinson of Leeds (mixed media); Yellowdog of Haydenville (sculpture with found objects); Michele Diamond of Hadley (acrylic pours); Camille Tahar of Belchertown (jewelry); Kaitlin Scutari of Orange (ceramics); Sara Deponte of Petersham (watercolors) and Fabio Deponte of Petersham (oil/acrylic).