This breathtakingly beautiful artwork was created by 3 young men from the Green Hill Juvenile Detention Center and is on display in St Louis as part of the exhibit “The Many Faces of Dred Scott” hosted by our friend Lynne Jackson and The Dred Scott Heritage Foundation. When Lynne found out about Librarian Julie Forbes’ mission to help enrich the education of the young men there, and to help expose them to talents they never knew they had, Lynne also wanted to celebrate and support the talent, creativity, and passion of these young men struggling with incarceration. What resulted is this collaboration of a portrait of Dred Scott, an inspirational historical figure – an enslaved African American man who in 1857 unsuccessfully sued for the freedom of himself and his family, a court case that many say hastened the coming of this country’s Civil War. For more information about Dred Scott please go to dredscottlives.org Please read below a brief description about the creation of this artwork, which like social justice today – a work in progress.
Our focus was to include the minority cultures represented on our campus and the struggles they have shared.
B.R. was our first artist. He drew the outline of Drew Scott and the yellow pattern in the background. The pattern includes the Adinkra (West African) symbol for freedom, liberation, and emancipation. This is the yellow X’s you can find in the background, B.R. is 21 years old, graduated high school with us and is currently taking college classes. Learning to draw while incarcerated has been a powerful outlet for him and given him another way to connect with his loved ones.
A.S. created all of the patterns in the background. These traditional patterns represent the diverse cultures on our campus highlighting the humanity shared through art. A.S. is 20 years old and is very close to graduating high school with us. He discovered a love for art in middle school because of an inspirational art teacher. His goals are in the physical fitness business and he is studying hard to realize them… and yes… art will be a part of his journey.
Our third artist J.H. colored in all of the cultural patterns and added the words Justice, Hope, Peace, and Resilience. Words especially meaningful to the minority groups in America and the leadership shown by Dred Scott. J.H. is 20 years old and is about to graduate highschool with us. Learning to draw came about when his mother sent him a picture of a rose she drew for him, he, in return, drew a rose for her. This relationship, enriched through expressions in art. This resident has also discovered a deep appreciation for poetry.
Stay Tuned for Exciting updates on #ANewChapter Service Project