A homecoming exhibition for Port Arthur native Harvey Johnson will be at Museum of the Gulf Coast through Monday, April 4.
A Triple Middle Passage: The Angels Done Bowed Down is about journeys – our first journey into life through our mothers, struggles through all kinds of adversity, and a boundless hope for where the future may take us. His work explores the human condition, the sacredness of life, and transformation of human and environmental abuse into something spiritually pure, positive and powerful.
The historical Middle Passage was the route used by ships carrying slaves from Africa to the Americas. Its course was marked by incredible suffering and the destruction of countless lives. A deep sense of loss and a yearning for freedom can be heard in the verses of spirituals, hearkening back to this horrific experience.
Born in Port Arthur in 1947, Johnson was raised by a hardworking single mother who taught her children vital lessons of love, sacrifice, and perseverance. He graduated from Lincoln High School and studied at Texas Southern University under the renowned Dr. John Biggers. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree at Washington State University.
A professor of art at TSU for 34 years, Johnson is known for his narrative style paintings and conte crayon drawings which embrace aspects of the African-American experience. He is the creator of the mural “All God’s Chillun’ Got Wings” at the Clinton Community Center in Houston. Children from the community center participated in the project, helping to draw the guidelines for the painting.