Juneteenth and the Roxbury International Film Festival

Tomorrow, June 21, the MFA in partnership with the Epicenter Community opens its doors for a free evening of creativity and community to honor Juneteenth, which commemorates the end of slavery in the US. The Juneteenth commemorations date back to June 19, 1865, when news of the end of the civil war and the Emancipation Proclamation finally reached Galveston, Texas. The MFA event, from 5-10pm (free admission beginning at 4pm), will include local music, dance, live painting, and an open mic.


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., John Wilson, 1985Richard Florsheim Art Fund and Anonymous Gift
© John Wilson/Licensed by VAGA, New York , NYPhotograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Explore the galleries on your own, or join a tour of the exhibition Wilson/Cortor (on new until August 6), which celebrates the work of two contemporary artists whose work explores the African American experience through their individual styles. John Wilson (1922-2015) was a Roxbury native influenced by study with Mexican muralists. He is well known for his bronze bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. The exhibition includes a sketch made in preparation for the bust, as well as an etching shown with various levels of ink saturation, all giving different views the leader’s iconic face. Eldzier Cortor (1916-2015) was introduced to African art at the Field Museum in his native Chicago, and influenced by the Gullah community on islands off the coast of South Carolina.

Tomorrow evening is also the kick-off for the Roxbury International Film Festival, the largest New England festival dedicated to celebrating film by and about people of color. Tomorrow’s films (free, but first come, first served) are Paris Noir, a documentary on black American poets, writers, artists and others living in Paris in the 1920s and ’30s, and When Voice Rise, a documentary on desegregation in 1950s Bermuda. The festival runs from June 21-July 1, and includes 25 films. See the full schedule here, and find more on celebrating Juneteenth in Boston here.


Dance Composition No. XL, Eldzier Cortor, 1970s
Gift of Eldzier Cortor in memory of Sophia Rose Cortor
© Eldzier Cortor; Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New 
York, NY
Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

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