The Rochester Contemporary Art Center has unveiled an honorary exhibit for legendary activist Frederick Douglass. The collection is called “No Soil Better”. The art center dedicated the exhibit to the renowned abolitionist as a way to celebrate Douglass` 200th birthday. Shawn Dunwoody is from Rochester`s east side and was one of ten artists chosen to display their work to honor the living legacy of Frederick Douglass.
“This is the message that I want young people to have that Douglass even though we put him on top of statues and we see him as this old guy that spoke a lot, just like you, he was young, he was 16, he felt the oppression,” said local artist Shawn Dunwoody.
Shawn named his inspirational painting on Fredrick Douglass, “World Star”, after the popular hip hop site. According to Shawn, the name of his work connects how today`s youth are intrigued by fighting and the aggression and grit Douglass had in order to spark change.
“You feel this sense of oppression, you feel this sense that you want to become a man, you want to be be strong but you feel a though society is kicking you down as a black man and not giving you the just respect to move forward and to be who you are and to stand firm,” he says.
With influences from one of Muhammad Ali`s most epic fights, Shawn depicts Douglass in the ring standing victorious over his slave master. This is a true tale of how Frederick Douglass fought for his life against his slave master, Edward Covey.
“Sometimes you gota ball your fist up and push your way through,” he says.
Shawn`s painting along with the rest of the exhibit`s other works to honor Douglass will remain on display until March 18th. For more information on call the Rochester Contemporary Art Center at (585) 461-2222.