The “Three Generations of Pleasant Art Exhibit,” critically acclaimed as one of the great hidden treasures of African-American culture in Savannah, and very possibly in the United States, will open at the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum, 460 Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, March 18 at 5 p.m. and run until April 7, 2006.
The exhibit will feature for the first time a collection of works by members of the gifted Pleasant family, who have contributed their artistic talents to Savannah’s culture and character since the early 1900s. Among the items going on display will be images of signs painted by William Pleasant, Sr., during the first half of the twentieth century, and sculpture produced by David Carter during the same period. William Pleasant, Sr., and Carter are, respectively, the deceased paternal and maternal grandfathers of the current generation of Pleasants. Carter won fame for sculptures he created from coconut shells and for exquisitely designed rattan furniture previously exhibited at the national Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.
Paintings by William Pleasant, Jr., have long been celebrated not only for their technical and aesthetic proficiency, but because many of them serve as rare historical documents of African-American life in Savannah during the civil rights movement. Subjects painted by Pleasant in the past include Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the well-known former civil rights activist John “Piccolo” Saxon, civil rights activist Ben Clark, and other recognizable personalities from Savannah’s recent past. As part of the “Three Generations of Pleasant Art” event, a large photograph of the painter, who died in 1997, and an example of his work will go into the Civil Rights Museum’s permanent collection.
In addition to art by the senior Pleasants, the exhibit will include a hand-made drum created by the acclaimed percussionist David Pleasant, celebrated world-wide for his masterful fusion of Gullah, gospel, hip-hop, jazz, and other musical traditions. The textile art of Tahiri’h Pleasant, an educator who works with children who have special needs, for the Chatham County Board of Education, will be on display as well.
Jalal Pleasant, known professionally by the single name “Pleasant,” is both a principle coordinator of “Three Generations of Pleasant Art” and a contributing craftsman to this special event. As a creative visual artist, Pleasant has been recognized worldwide for his diverse style of expressionistic and representational paintings, his provocative sculptures, and his innovative forms.
For more information on “Three Generations of Pleasant Art,” please contact the Ralph Mark Gilbert Civil Rights Museum at 231-8900, or log onto the Pleasant Paintings web site at http://pleasantpaintings.tripod.com/ .