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Somebody’s Child Paintings by Willie Birch


  • Archive Exhibitions, Archived Education, Exhibition

  • September 14, 2002 – January 5, 2003
  • Kidspace

Somebody’s Child featured thirteen paintings by acclaimed artist and educator Willie Birch. Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Birch studied art at Southern University in New Orleans and received his M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 1973. He lived in Brooklyn, New York, for over twenty years before returning to New Orleans in 1994, where he now lives and works.

The title of this exhibition, Somebody’s Child, came from Birch’s reflections on the frequency of violence in our country and throughout the world. Whether playing music, dancing, resting, or posing, the people in Birch’s paintings conveyed basic human characteristics — pride, strength, tenderness, energy, uncertainty — that are universally recognizable. At the same time, he portrayed these people in a highly individualized manner and gave vital form to their specific experience as African Americans in New Orleans. In this way, Birch paid tribute to his community and cultural heritage and pointed to aspects of the human condition shared by us all. Somebody’s Child was organized by Molly Polk with Megan Hack. Special thanks to Luise Ross and Ned Puchner.

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