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January 25 - March 22, 2019

Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins

Johnny Coleman (Oberlin, OH)

Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins

Johnny Coleman, work in progress detail of Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins  (2019)

Johnny Coleman, work in progress detail of Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins

Johnny Coleman, work in progress detail of Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins  (2019)

Johnny Coleman, work in progress detail of Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins

Johnny Coleman, work in progress detail of Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins  (2019)

Johnny Coleman, work in progress detail of Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins

Johnny Coleman, work in progress detail of Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins  (2019)

Johnny Coleman (Oberlin, OH)
In Residence: Dec. 10 - Feb. 3

Opening Reception: January 25, 6PM - 9PM
On View: 1/25/19 - 3/22/19

Johnny Coleman's immersive environment created during his residency at SPACES, Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins, imagines the passing of the spirit of a formerly enslaved child.

In 1853, Lee Howard Dobbins accompanied his adopted mother and siblings as they fled Kentucky, crossed the Ohio River, and traveled north to reach Canada via Lake Erie. When he fell ill, he was left in the care of an Oberlin family. Two weeks later the four-year-old died among strangers. Neighbors raised funds to bury the child and mark his grave with a granite headstone. His internment in Oberlin served as a marker of local opposition to the institution of slavery, but even that symbol has been forgotten over time.

Crossing The Water: Requiem For Lee Howard Dobbins marks his continued presence. This project is a meditation on an imagined place in which he might have been free.

About the Artist

Johnny Coleman

Johnny Coleman is a sculptor/installation artist and Associate Professor of Art and African American Studies at Oberlin College. He is from Southern California, and received his BFA from the Otis Art Institute of the Parsons School of Design, and his MFA from the University of California at San Diego. He... go to artist page

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