The substance in our shadows

While we’re on the subject of Black History Month, here’s another must-see GNV exhibit: “Shadow to Substance.” It’s currently on display at UF’s Harn Museum of Art. But better hurry, because after Feb. 27 it’ll be gone.

You might even call it the Harn’s cover story. Because the images begin to catch your eye before you even enter the building.

As it happens, the Matheson Museum’s “Tired of Waiting” exhibit is a perfect complement to the Harn’s “Shadow to Substance.” One a local view, the other a more comprehensive examination of the Black experience as depicted in striking images. Both are well worth seeing.

They are not worried at the Harn about crossing Florida’s Critical Race Theory barrier. There are things we need to talk about, and ginned-up hurt feelings and snow flake sensitivities be damned.

Some of these images are disturbing. But so was the murder of Trayvon Martin.

Some of them should jolt your conscience. There is a direct line between stops on the Underground Railroad, the birth of American jazz and the rage that plays out still on our streets. Culture and conflict.

This exhibit is all about the power of images to provoke thoughtful dialogue and lay the groundwork for social change.

And to remind us that, no matter the shade of our skins, we all want the same things at the end of the day. To rest easy with who we are.

Because who we are as individuals is central to what we are as America.

And make no mistake. As much as we might like to pretend otherwise, the ghosts of our past bedevil us still.

We need to see each other for what we really are, not what others have tried to make us appear.

“Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company. It’s beyond me.” Zora Neale Hurston.

We all of us have our dreams.

Listen, there is so much substance to be found in our shadows. We only need to search it out.

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