Dorsey, Najee (Cool Papa Bell)
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"Cool Papa Bell" by Najee Dorsey
24 x 24 inches, mixed media on canvas, 2018 -- unframed
“In the work I do, I present an American experience through the lens of my African-American perspective,” says Najee Dorsey. In the exhibition Leaving Mississippi – Reflections on Heroes and Folklore, Dorsey’s Mississippi Delta roots emerge as he pays homage to a cast of colorful characters, historic events, and conditions of Southern life while creating commentary about current economic and social conditions in America. The mixed-media works in the exhibition showcase a number of the heroes of the civil rights movements, participants of civil disobedience in the early 20th century, and folklore legends including Dangerfield Newby, Bass Reeves, and Robert Charles. The work combines themes that have interested Dorsey for the past few years: journeys that people embark upon as they search for a better life, and the resistance of those who stay where they are to fight the powers that be. The artist uses a variety of materials, including photographic imagery, ripped paper, paint and found objects. Each composition blends multiple textures, colors, and layers to make the stories tangible for viewers.
Born and raised in the Delta and now a resident of the Columbus area, Dorsey has shown his work in numerous solo and group exhibitions. His work can be found in the collections of:
2016 David W. Mullins Library at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
2016 Collection of Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts: PAFA, Philadelphia, PA
2016 Paul R. Jones Collection, University of Delaware, Newark, DE
2016 David C. Driskell Collection, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
2015 Community Folk Art Center, Syracuse University, NY
2015 Columbus Museum, Columbus, GA
2014 Clark University Museum, Atlanta, GA
2012 African American Museum of Dallas, TX
2012 Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, Sarasota, FL
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