January 8, 2022, 2 PM, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Meghan Melvin, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Curator of Design welcomed Ticknorites to the MFA for an in-person look at the book illustrations of Ekua Holmes.
A lifelong resident of Boston’s Roxbury neighborhood, Ekua Holmes (b. 1955) is an artist and community activist whose body of work explores themes of childhood, family bonds, memory, and resilience. The exhibition focused on her award-winning children’s book illustrations—vibrant collages revealing stories of self-determination, love, and community that reflect the artist’s distinctive vision and commitment to Black imagery and representation.
The more than 40 works on view included original illustrations from Holmes’s published book projects: Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement (2015) by Carole Boston Weatherford, Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets (2017) by Kwame Alexander, and Black Is a Rainbow Color (2020) by Angela Joy. The exhibition also featured a selection of Holmes’s luminous illustrations for the recently released book Saving American Beach (2021) by Heidi Tyline King—on view for the first time—as well as a selection of her independent work, including portrait installation pieces.