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Two rows of people sit listening to a talk given in a room lined with paintings

American Originals | Jacob Lawrence: Harlem and the Great Migration



[ Art History Course )

This event has passed.

In the final of our American Originals talks, Richard Cupidi examines the images and narratives of Jacob Lawrence's sprawling Migration Series.

From its humble colonial beginnings, American art has been about different ways of looking at things. Over three successive weekends, we’ll explore the work of three outstanding American Modernists who have created some of the most original and enduring images of our times.

11am – 1pm

Single session £30, £20 [under 30s)

Full course £75, £50 [under 30s)

Lawrence’s life reads like a modern Cinderella story: growing up poor and black in 1930’s Harlem to eventually become the most celebrated African-American artist of the 20th century. A master storyteller, Jacob Lawrence’s elemental and evocative images recorded the lives of ordinary people as well as many unrecognised trailblazers of African-American history.

This talk will focus on Lawrence’s Migration Series, an epic sequence of 60 paintings recounting, in simple, powerful and often majestic images, the black Exodus from America’s Deep South. There’ll be music and poetry along the way. A unique artist, a unique experience.


American-born and Brighton-based, Richard Cupidi is an experienced art historian, educator and visual storyteller specialising in 20th century American art, art of the Early Renaissance and Film Studies. He has taught, performed and run workshops in a range of settings including Tate Modern, the Barbican, Goldsmiths, Brighton Festival, Lighthouse, King’s College, Chichester Cinema, Sussex University, University of Brighton and the Towner Gallery. As a visual storyteller, he has the ability to make his topics come alive, to entertain as well as inform.