During the slave trade, a ship's route typically consisted of three legs: from Europe to Africa to trade goods for kidnapped Africans, from Africa to the Americas to trade the slaves for raw materials, and back to Europe to repeat the process. The most atrocious of these journeys, the one transporting slaves to the New World, was called the Middle Passage.
It's a fitting point of reference for Leonard Scott's Echoes of a Middle Passage, which, aside from providing a playful allusion to Scott's own impending middle age, also references the continuing theme of his work: examining the lives of towering figures of black history in intricate, hand-assembled collage.
"He's done collages on everyone from Miles Davis to Bob Marley," notes Holly Hurd, curator of the Cousins Gallery in the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, where Echoes will anchor the Black History Month celebrations. "His imagery is so detailed, you can't really stand back from it; it encourages a more intimate relationship with the work. And once you come closer, it tells you a story. You can really get lost in there."
Echoes opens tonight, accompanied by a gala ceremony for the Juanita Ross Gray Community Service Awards, and stays up through February 25 at the Blair-Caldwell Library, 2401 Welton Street. For more information on the exhibit or other Black History Month events -- including lectures, a film series and a panel of African-American women artists -- call 720-865-2401 or visit http://aarl.denverlibrary.org.
Feb. 3-25, 2012