Sheila Pree Bright’s MOCA exhibit honors civil rights leaders and contemporary activists

1960 Now pairs youth leaders of Black Lives Matter with little-known 1960s civil rights youth leaders
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Sheila Pree Bright
Bright (right) with Malacka Reed EL, a community activist from East Baltimore and the founder of #365EmpressMovement

Photograph by Sheila Pree Bright

Stone Mountain–based artist Sheila Pree Bright has spent 2015 traveling America, from Ferguson to Baltimore, capturing the protests and youth leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement. Still, she doesn’t consider herself an activist but a cultural observer. “I’m here to tell stories we don’t really see on TV,” she says. Bright’s new Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia exhibition, 1960 Now, pairs those photos with her portraits of little-known 1960s civil rights youth leaders.

The artist on . . .
What sparked her new portrait series  
“I was in Atlanta on Martin Luther King Day, when Shut Down ATL protesters took over the parade. I was listening to people on the sidelines, and they were talking about how you’re disgracing Martin Luther King, and the protesters are saying, ‘No, he would do this, too.’”

What she hopes the work will achieve  
“I would like for it to create the dialogue that’s most needed here, whether it’s between races, genders, or generations. I see it as a start.”

On the calendar: See Bright’s work honoring civil rights leaders and contemporary activists at MOCA from September 26 through November 28.

This article originally appeared in our September 2015 issue.

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