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By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 26 January 2023

A multimedia visual and audio history exhibit honors five living musical artists from Portland’s Black community. 

Recorded interviews and photographic portraits preserve and give voice to the rich cultural traditions of musician mentors from inner NE Portland who paved the way for emerging Black artists throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Artists featured in the Flowers for Black Elders exhibit include Saeeda Wright, Alonzo Chadwick, Derrick McDuffy, Mel Brown, and Libretto Jackson.

“Flowers for Black Elders represents the notion that we must give our peers and mentors their flowers – figuratively and literally – while they are still alive, helping sustain and continue their artistic traditions long into the future,” shared exhibit director Onry, an award-winning singer, artist and actor.

The exhibit’s executive producer Joni Whitworth, poet and founder of queer artist collective Future Prairie, adds that “this exhibit brings important stories of Northeast Portland’s art, voices and culture to the forefront for public engagement, while also documenting, preserving and archiving these stories for the future.” An all Black and/or queer team assembled the exhibition. 

The exhibit is free and open to the public at the following times and locations:

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT

The Flowers for Black Elders exhibit was developed by City of Portland artists-in-residence Onry, director, and Joni Whitworth, executive producer, featuring stunning portrait photographs by Brett Brown. Financial support was from lead sponsor Oregon Community Foundation with additional sponsorship from Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Regional Arts and Culture Council.

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