Explore

Baltimore Artist Paints Mural To Honor Late Novelist Toni Morrison

By Danielle Dorsey

Share

Baltimore artist and educator Ernest Shaw Jr. wasted no time creating a mural to honor esteemed novelist Toni Morrison in the wake of her passing last week.

Morrison lived 88 long years, during which she authored several award-winning novels that spoke directly to the evolution of the Black experience in America, with Black women front and center. The success of Morrison’s creative career proved that one need not cater to the white gaze to achieve mainstream success and encouraged an entire generation of Black artists to fearlessly pursue their passions.

Shaw identifies as a muralist, but it was important to him to paint his Toni Morrison portrait on the popular Graffiti Alley in the Baltimore neighborhood where he was raised. He took on the project on a whim the day after Morrison’s passing and on the occasion of his 50th birthday. The entire process was documented on his Instagram and completed in less than three hours. Shaw told CBS Local that, “She’s one of the artists who deliberately had an impact on my creative process.”

The mural is located behind Motor House, an arts space in Baltimore where Shaw is the senior artist in residence. His recent exhibition Testify! explores Blackness as an entity detached from whiteness and weaves themes of Black masculinity with systemic violence and generational trauma. Some of his portraits include James Baldwin in a pastoral white robe with a sun rising behind his head and a stoic George Stinney Jr., the youngest person ever executed in the United States, in a striped prison jumpsuit. Shaw remarked in an interview with the Baltimore Sun that Morrison’s work often dealt in similar topics. 

In Morrison’s famous Nobel Prize winning speech, she affirmed that “We die. That may be the meaning of life.” 

Shaw draws inspiration from these words and commenting on Morrison’s death, said, “I don’t consider this a loss. We’re not losing an artist or person, we’re gaining an ancestor.”

To learn more about Shaw’s work, visit his website here.

Share
Travel Noire

Danielle Dorsey

Want more?

Get exclusive, unpublished tips from Travel Noire's CEO to help you get off the beaten path, into the hearts of locals and onto a better, more cultured life.

Maryland’s Only Black-Owned Movie Theater Celebrates One Year Anniversary

Maryland’s Only Black-Owned Movie Theater Celebrates One Year Anniversary

It’s officially been one year since Robert Wright and Anthony Fykes opened NextAct Cinema, the first and only black-owned movie theater in Maryland.  Located on Reisterstown Road in Pikesville, NextAct Cinema opened in March of 2019 as an independent boutique theater offering both a unique and personalized movie-going experience. RELATED: Did You Know There’s A […]

Parker Diakite

New Sankofa Children’s Center In Baltimore Shares Traditions Of Africa’s 54 Nations

New Sankofa Children’s Center In Baltimore Shares Traditions Of Africa’s 54 Nations

As of February 1, young visitors and locals to the Baltimore area have a new landmark to celebrate their African heritage and history. Sankofa Children’s Museum of African Cultures recently opened its doors with the aim to “educate, inspire and connect children from all walks of life to the vast physical and cultural diversity of […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin

Visit These Black-Owned Chocolate Companies This Valentine’s Day

Visit These Black-Owned Chocolate Companies This Valentine’s Day

It’s that time of year. When love and chocolate are in the air. And nothing says I love you more than handcrafted, locally sourced, and visually stunning chocolates. Satisfy your sweet tooth and support these black-owned chocolatiers during Valentine’s Day and all year long.   Chocolate Secrets – Dallas, TX You can purchase these delectable […]

Leah Freeman-Haskin