Najee Dorsey Essay

Submitted By youngjess
Words: 972
Pages: 4

Jessica Young
Professor Shae Anderson
English 1101
11 September 2014
A Look into Najee Dorsey’s Work In today’s world, many of our lives are tied around current economic and social conditions. Najee Dorsey, a black artist who focus most of his work on Americans, mostly African American conditions, did an exhibitions called “Leaving Mississippi.” Most of his works were to inspire African Americans. Through his visuals Najee shows heroes of the civil rights movement and other themes that have interested him. Najee Dorsey uses many symbols, mixed media, and different colors to paint an image of the African American experience. You may wonder what “Leaving Mississippi” has to do with Najee’s work, but it “alludes to the great migration undertaken by millions of African Americans as they left the South” (Leaving 3). During a talk with Najee, he talks about how “Leaving Mississippi” is a metaphor for America’s challenge in the earlier times. Not only did African Americans migrate, but also anyone who was considered an “other.” Many left to find better economic opportunities and a new identity. Najee’s resistance series tells stories of African Americans who stayed in the homes to resist the harsh problems to their rights. Najee uses different symbols that paint the image of the African American experience. In one of Najee’s artworks “What Democracy Looks Like”, he uses an American flag fence and bright grass to symbolize democracy. In contrast to how beautiful our country democracy is, Najee uses a barbed wire fence with rough grass to symbolize how rough the African American experience was. Some may disagree with Najee’s argument on what democracy looks like. Some may think on democracy is opposite, not having bright grass. Najee also uses symbols that relate to the Civil Rights movement. One way he shows this is using different images in one painting. His “Here I Stand” artwork is an image of a woman being “arrested for resisting bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama” (Leaving 12). Najee says that her youth, skin complexion and her lack of social standing were to symbolize the Civil Rights movement. In Najee’s work, he has Claudette Colvin’s face darkened which symbolized the way her protest was received by the Civil Rights Leaders. The leaders see it has being a spirit because her act wasn’t publicized widely. While looking at Najee’s work, you may wonder why he used such pieces. Many of those pieces were used to show how many fought for what’s right. These pieces Najee use relates to much of the Civil Rights movement. Many of those in the black such pieces used in “Here I Stand”, “Deacons Revisited” and “Google Robert Charles”, Najee shows how segregation and self-rights affected blacks and others. Blacks had little to no freedom. Najee stated that he chose to do pieces of the black community not only because he is black but to show his commentary on the struggle of the African American experience. “Resistance”, Najee’s mixed media series “is an artistic commentary on the various ways individuals have used their voice and bodies to “resist” and fight against the powers that be” (Dorsey). Najee used signs inspired by the Occupy Movement that showed many protests of blacks during the Civil Rights movement. The movement was to protest against social and economic inequalities. The signs in Najee’s pieces stated such as so. In Najee’s mixed media works, he uses a lot of colors, textures, and found objects. With these he creates a commentary about the African American experience. Such things like current economic and social conditions. Also things like the Civil Rights movements including a few heroes that participated in the civil disobedience. Najee’s “Leaving Mississippi” piece has a lot of different colors and objects. One of the objects is a