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The University of Alabama

Art Exhibit “Migration/s” Opens at UA’s Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art

Harlem, 1935 by Aaron Siskind, courtesy of Aaron Siskind Foundation

Harlem, 1935 by Aaron Siskind
courtesy of Aaron Siskind Foundation
This image is for single use only for the promotion of the “Migration/s” exhibition and should not be held in any photo archive without express permission from the Aaron Siskind Foundation.

TUSCALOOSA, Ala.  — “Migration/s,” a collaborative exhibit that explores the theme of migration through works of art in the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama, will open at the Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art in downtown Tuscaloosa March 5.

The exhibit, part of a semester-long exploration of the theme of migration in many courses and subject areas at UA, will be on display until April 19.

It is part of “Through the Doors,” a year-long series of activities and events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the desegregation of UA in 1963 and honoring the courage and dedication of the two African-American students who enrolled in the University on June 11, 1963, as well as the University’s ongoing commitment to change over the past 50 years and its commitment to continued progress in the future.  For more information, visit

Migration/s investigates how artists have reflected upon the history of African-American experiences in the wake of the Great Migration, which scholars loosely date from 1915-1970, as well as migration from more expansive historical and contemporary, local and global, and national and international contexts.

Foster_50_logo eh 2c (2)The theme of migration was developed by members of a steering committee made up of members of UA’s Black Faculty and Staff Association. The group envisioned finding a way to use the collection as a means to explore a common theme across many disciplines. A digital archive of the exhibit has been made available to UA faculty to use in their courses to explore migration from multiple perspectives.

Jessica Dallow, associate professor of art history at The University of Alabama at Birmingham and guest curator, organized the exhibit into four sections: the migration impulse, the migrant experience, protest and resistance movements, and the migrant artist. It features such artists from the collection as Lois Mailou Jones, John Riddle, Jr., James Sherman Brantley, Margaret T. Goss Burroughs, Reginald Gammon, Emma Amos, Dawoud Bey, and Elizabeth Catlett.

“The works in the collection and in the exhibition are not all directly related to The Great Migration, but by putting them in dialogue with this theme I hope that people are able to understand something about that moment in history, and prompt larger questions about migration and immigration today,” Dallow said.

An opening reception for “Migration/s” will be held Thursday, March 7 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. Dr. Utz McKnight, an associate professor in UA’s department of political science and chair of UA’s department of gender and race studies, will give a gallery talk titled, “Art, Diaspora and The Politics of Migration.” A second gallery talk, “Transborder Migrations: Race, Mobility and Containment,” will be given March 14 at 6 p.m. by Dr. Jennifer Shoaff, an assistant professor in UA’s department of gender and race studies. Both events are free and open to the public and will be held at the Paul R. Jones Gallery of Art.

On April 3 Kimberley Phillips, dean of Brooklyn College’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences and author of several books related to African-American migration, will give a lecture at 7 p.m. in room 222 of Lloyd Hall on the UA campus. This lecture is also free and open to the public.

The gallery honors the late Paul R. Jones who, during his lifetime, amassed one of the largest collections of African-American art in the world. In 2008, Jones donated 1,700 pieces of his collection, valued at $4.8 million, to UA. Jones was known as a passionate collector who sought to collect from both well-known and lesser known artists, a quality which makes his collection distinct.

The Paul R. Jones Gallery is located at 2308 6th St. in downtown Tuscaloosa. Gallery hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday from noon to 8 p.m.  The gallery is managed by the department of art and art history in The University of Alabama’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.

  • CONTACT: Kelli Wright, communications specialist, College of Arts and Sciences, 205/348-8539,
  • SOURCE: Jessica Dallow, associate professor of art, UAB,