“Hiroshima” Series by Jacob Lawrence

November 18–December 18, 2020

Jacob Lawrence Playground Mitchell Gallery
Jacob Lawrence, (1917-2000), Playground, from the “Hiroshima” series, 1983, silkscreen. © Jacob Lawrence, courtesy of Landau Traveling Exhibitions.

Lawrence received an invitation by the Limited Editions Club of New York to illustrate any book of his choice from the club’s numerous titles. Lawrence wrote that he selected John Hersey’s narrative, Hiroshima, because “of its power, insight, scope, and sensitivity, as well as for its overall content.” These works illustrate a series of events taking place in a marketplace, playground, street scene and other sites at the moment of the bombing on August 6, 1945.

John Hersey, a noted American writer and journalist, is considered one of the earliest practitioners of what was called “New Journalism,” in which storytelling techniques are adapted to non-fiction reportage. Hersey’s account of the aftermath of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, and the effect on six Japanese citizens, was published in its entirety in the August 31, 1946 issue of The New Yorker. This was the first and only time the magazine has devoted an entire issue to a work by one writer.

About the Artist
Since his first published print in 1963, Jacob Lawrence (1917—2000) produced a body of prints that is both highly dramatic and intensely personal. In his graphic work, as in his paintings, Lawrence has turned to the lessons of history and his own experience. From depictions of civil rights confrontations to scenes of daily life, these images present a vision of a common struggle toward unity and equality, and a universal struggle deeply seated in the depths of the human consciousness.

The works are on loan courtesy of the collection of Alitash Kebede of Los Angeles, CA. The exhibition and museum tour are organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions of Los Angeles, CA.

“Jacob Lawrence—Three Series of Prints: Genesis | Toussaint L’Ouverture | Hiroshima” is made possible through the generosity of the Maryland State Arts Council and the Mitchell Gallery Board of Advisors.

Maryland State Arts Council Logo

Programs and Events

November 18–December 18: Online Lecture

Lecture on the “Hiroshima” series by Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg.
Prerecorded lecture. Premieres November 18, available through December 18.

November 22: Family Event, 3 p.m., all ages

Children’s event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of Hiroshima. This live-streamed event on YouTube will feature:

  • Online video recording, courtesy of George Winston: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes. Narration by Liv Ullmann, music by George Winston.
  • Online workshop: Origami—Making a Paper Crane with Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg. The ancient art of creating an origami paper crane will be demonstrated. The paper crane includes many origami techniques, so make one, or watch one being made! Everyone is invited to participate. Free.

December 3: Virtual Tour, 2:30 p.m. | Book Club, 3 p.m.

Join Art Educator Lucinda Edinberg for a virtual tour of the Jacob Lawrence “Hiroshima” exhibition. Then stay for book club, featuring Hiroshima by John Hersey. Free. Registration is required. Register online today for Book Club.

December 13: Interview with Alitash Kebede, 3 p.m.

Alitash Kebede
Photo credit: Lily Kebede Abozin

A live interview with Alitash Kebede, collector and owner of Alitash Kebede Arts in Los Angeles, CA. Kebede will speak about her collection of works by African American artists and her friendship with Jacob Lawrence.

See a recording of this interview on YouTube.

December 18: Closing of Jacob Lawrence exhibition