Numbered, in graphite, lower left margin: 17/30; titled, in graphite, lower center margin: Swing Low Sweet Chariot; signed, in graphite, lower right margin: ABryan
In this linocut, Dartmouth Professor Emeritus Ashley Bryan illustrates the well-known black spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," specifically the verse:
I looked over Jordan, what did I see
Coming for to carry me home?
A band of angels coming after me
Coming for to carry me home.
Through his portrayal of black angels riding a chariot to heaven, Bryan seems to equate heaven with freedom—that of the Israelites from Egypt, and of enslaved Africans from American chattel slavery.
This work captures the importance of the African American history of song. Spirituals created community during times of hardship, uniting people through music despite differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Sime historians believe this tune served as code during the underground railroad, sung as "Swing Low, Sweet Harriet" when Harriet Tubman was on her way. The spiritual represented not only a collective symbolic hope, but also a concrete hope of freedom from bondage.
From the 2019 exhibition A Space for Dialogue 97, Black Bodies on the Cross, curated by Victoria McCraven '19, Homma Family Intern
AAAS 88.19, Contemporary African-American Artists, Michael Chaney, Summer 2021
A Space for Dialogue 97, Black Bodies on the Cross, Victoria McCraven, Class of 2019, Homma Family Intern, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 9, 2019-January 4, 2020.
Victoria McCraven, A Space for Dialogue 97, Black Bodies on the Cross, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2020.
Elizabeth R. and Michael Mayor, Hanover, New Hampshire; given to present collection, 2014.
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