One of the privileges of working at the North Carolina Museum of Art is having the opportunity to provide visitors of all ages with a diverse range of exhibitions to pique their interests and to create unique educational experiences. Rhythms of the Heart: The Illustration of Ashley Bryan, open through August 19, celebrates the career of the renowned author and illustrator, and it certainly is a unique visual opportunity.
Wait a minute, I can hear you say. An illustration exhibition by a children’s book author? But what about me—I’m a grown-up!
I’ve got a good answer for you. Rhythms of the Heart holds its own, allowing viewers of all ages to enjoy a colorful trip through Bryan’s inspirational and energetic illustrations. Works in this exhibition feature Bryan’s unique artistic style, combining references to poetry, rhythm, African storytelling traditions, and African American spirituality. And it’s free!
Don’t let the subject matter fool you: though aimed at families and children, this exhibition can be enjoyed by all ages. Come explore over 60 energetic works of art that will surely add a bit of levity to your day. Just a “children’s book illustrations” exhibition? Check it out for yourself—this show, and its diverse subject matter, might surprise you.
Have you visited Rhythms of the Heart yet? What did you enjoy most? Did anything surprise you? Leave a comment below.
Jennifer Dasal is associate curator of contemporary art.
Rhythms of the Heart: The Illustration of Ashley Bryan is organized by the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature. This exhibition is made possible, in part, by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources; the North Carolina Museum of Art Foundation, Inc.; and the William R. Kenan Jr. Endowment for Educational Exhibitions.
Image: Ashley Bryan, Hen and Frog, 1980, from Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum (Atheneum, 1980), tempera on paper, 7 x 10 ½ in., Courtesy of the artist, © 1980 Ashley Bryan