Slavery by Another Name: Paintings and Assemblages by Robert Claiborne Morris

Telfair Academy January 6- March 4, 2012

Middle Passage, 2009, Mixed media on gesso board, 14 by 11 inches; Collection of Madison Prickett.

Exhibition Closed March 2012

Robert Claiborne Morris began to re-examine his understanding of race in America after reading an early proof of Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize winning book, “Slavery by Another Name.” The revelation that slavery continued until World War II changed the way he saw his native South.

Morris began an odyssey in search of the images, objects and artifacts related to this obscure chapter in American history. From Georgia to North Carolina, he examined the junkyards, flea markets and historical societies, hunting and collecting, in the hopes of finding a medium that could both incorporate found objects and project images to better understand the spiritual darkness of re-enslavement.

Incorporated in Morris’ works are portraits of the re-enslaved, maps of the slave mines, courageous articles and images published by the Atlanta Constitution, blood money, letters to the Department of Justice pleading for mercy and implements of bondage and torture ranging from words to ropes, locks and chains. Morris’ hope is that the series of overlapping mediums awakens complex emotions and promotes reconciliation.

Over the course of Morris’ three previous exhibitions in three cities, after greeting and speaking to hundreds of people he has discovered that art has a power that must be directed to the improvement and reconciliation of man’s soul. Morris believes that art has a greater strength when focused on the soul of man, asking us to search deeper into the things that comprise our own history.


Related Program

PBS Documentary Slavery by Another Name: Preview Screening and Discussion with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Author Douglas Blackmon, Director Sam Pollard and Artist Robert Claiborne Morris

January 12 / 6 pm / Jepson Center
Exhibition reception to follow at Telfair Academy



slavery-pbsTelfair Museums presents a special advance screening of a segment from the new PBS documentary Slavery by Another Name, directed by noted filmmaker Sam Pollard (Producer of Eyes on the Prize II, Director of Zora Neal Hurston: Jump at the Sun.) Based on the Pulitzer-Prize-winning book by Douglas Blackmon, the film tells how, “in the years following the Civil War, insidious new forms of forced labor emerged in the American South, keeping hundreds of thousands of African Americans in bondage, trapping them in a brutal system that would persist until the onset of World War II.” Morris, Blackmon and, Pollard (schedule permitting) will be present to take questions from the audience after the 30-minute screening. The event is free to members or with museum admission.

Gallery Talk with Robert Claiborne Morris

February 13 / 12:30 pm / Telfair Academy


Passing Jekyll Coal Miners Abolishing Slavery
Top:  Middle Passage, 2009, Mixed media on gesso board, 14 by 11 inches; Collection of Madison Prickett.

Bottom Left:  Passing Jekyll, 2008, Acrylic and watercolor on paper and gesso board, 10 by 9.25 inches.

Bottom Middle:  Coal Miners, 2009, Mixed media on gesso board, 23.5 by 33.75 inches.

Bottom Right:  Abolishing Slavery, 2009, Mixed media on gesso board, 23.5 by 33.75 inches.