Sankofa: Looking Back to Move Forward. July 15-August 26, 2011. This beautiful exhibit by Sue Ross is a most see. Sue has documented the National Black Arts Festival from 1988 at the inception to present. I missed the Opening Reception but was there for the First Thursdays Downtown ArtsWalk. I was so happy that I went.
The pictures are phenomenal. "I wait on that moment to catch the picture that shows a little of their personality," Ms. Ross says. I spent time with each photo and felt transported to the moment. She has pictures of Cicely Tyson, Gladys Knight, Max Roach, Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez, Aaron Neville, Toni Cade Bambara, Dr. Richard Long, Cassandra Wilson, Rachelle Farrell, Philadanco Dance Company!, Elizabeth Catlett and many many more. Be sure to go by and see it before it leaves at the end of the month.
The exhibit is at the Rialto Center for the Arts in downtown Atlanta. In the fall 1916, a 926 seat theater opened in Atlanta. It was named the Rialto. which is defined as an exchange or marketplace. The Rialto operated through the Depression and at one time boasted the largest electric sign above the marquee in the south. The original building was torn down in 1962, and a new 1200 seat theater was erected on the same site. It was the first movie theater to be constructed in downtown Atlanta in 35 years and stayed open until 1989 before falling victim to the declining economy. Georgia State University bought it in 1996 and re-opened a 833 seat performing arts center.
It is fitting to that Sankofa is exhibited at the Rialto. We can "look back" to a time when African Americans had to sit in the balcony (segregated) to view the movies at the Rialto. Now as we "move forward", the Rialto is hosting an African American Art Photography Exhibit. Sankofa!