Travis Prince’s paintings prompt viewers to learn about a multitude of Black experiences through depictions of diverse individuals reading books by Black authors.
Pairing art and literature was an “ah-ha” moment in Prince’s artistic and pedagogical journey. He notes he is an avid reader and scholar of literary works, but at one point it dawned on him that the books he was reading were mostly written by white authors, nor could he recall a significant list of Black authors. That realization inspired his ongoing “Reader” series.
These paintings are both sincere expressions of Black identity and educational references for viewers to learn more from a plurality of Black voices throughout the African diaspora. Each image in the series evokes feelings of intimacy and empowerment. Every work of art is profound through both the elegance of the sitter and the content within the books they are engrossed in. We are only treated to the covers, so our thirst for inquiry will only be quenched by actually reading the books for ourselves. This was the exact takeaway I had from viewing Travis’ art, and I am glad that we had the opportunity to discuss the inspiration and artistic journey behind his pedagogical paintings.
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