Jennifer Mack-Watkins: Children of the Sun

March 17 - June 13, 2021

On the 100th anniversary of The Brownies’ Book: A Monthly Magazine for the Children of the Sun—a first-of-its-kind periodical for Black children that ran from 1920 to 1921—artist Jennifer Mack-Watkins celebrates the beauty, importance, and complexity of positive representation of African American children in her debut museum solo exhibition at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center. 

Mack-Watkins’ works on paper draw from the illustrative imagery found in The Brownies’ Book, using the medium of printmaking to mirror the genre-bending literary approach taken by the magazine’s editors. Mack-Watkins weaves imagery and narratives from disparate sources: accounts from Vermont storyteller, poet, and activist Daisy Turner of her childhood stand against racism; research findings inspired by the book Daisy’s Turner’s Kin: An African American Family Saga by Jane C. Beck, and the political, empowering, and mystical sensibility (both visual and literary) of The Brownies’ Book.

Jennifer Mack-Watkins’ delicate yet expressive work examines ideas of oral history, memory, literature, and resilience, negotiating how these elements influence both an internal and external vision of and for ourselves.