Jacob Lawrence was a widely renowned artist and University of Washington professor whose work centered on powerful themes such as justice, equality and the African American perspective. Using distilled forms with an emphasis on color and expression, Lawrence's work speaks with a straightforward clarity that simultaneously lends voice to those historically overlooked while opening an important dialogue with viewers. A renewed demand for original prints had sparked Lawrence’s initial interest in printmaking, but the medium also offered great aesthetic potential for him. Not only was he able to reach a much wider audience, but it enabled Lawrence to revisit and rework his most popular subjects. He sheds light on oppression, racism and human suffering, lauds moments of progress and hope, and reminds us that unity is key to building a better community. During his own life, Lawrence’s themes were both historical and timely and yet they continue to have resonance and relevance today.
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