Pellissippi State hosts exhibit featuring African-American artist Harold Winslow

He lived on the roof of a five-story apartment building in Mexico, and his room was so small that it contained little more than a bed, some canvases and his painting tools. It was from there, though, that African-American artist Harold Winslow created more than 1,300 pieces, securing a place in art history as a prolific chronicler of Mexican culture.

A collection of 50 of Winslow’s works will be shown at a special traveling art exhibit hosted by Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies. The works have been on tour since August 2011 at selected Kentucky and Tennessee colleges and universities.

Slated for display at Pellissippi State Sept. 19-Oct. 3, “Una Visión de la Mexicanidad”—“Mexicanidad” refers to the Mexican national identity and culture—offers a record of one artist’s experience in two cultures. Winslow, who was born in 1918 in Dayton, Ohio, moved to Mexico in 1940 in the hopes of escaping racism. He remained there until his death in 2001, at the age of 83.

“As a painter, Winslow expressed the enduring spirit of Mexican culture and the detailed harmony of human anatomy,” said Tracey Bradley, executive director of the consortium. “This unique perspective gives us all an opportunity to experience Mexico through his vision.”

The creative community in Mexico embraced Winslow, and he studied under such notable artists as painters Diego Rivera and José Clemente Orozco, watercolorist Pastor Velásquez, and muralist Alfredo Zalce. Winslow’s work includes paintings, murals and illustrations.

In the early 1940s, the artist also drew more than 2,000 illustrations for the “Treaty of Human Anatomy,” a textbook still in use at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, one of the most recognized academic institutions in Latin America.

“Una Visión de la Mexicanidad” marks the second time this summer that Pellissippi State and TnCIS have joined with the Ministry of Culture of Michoacán to bring an international art exhibit to East Tennessee. The three organizations teamed in August to bring “Masks of Michoacán” from Mexico to Knoxville for a 17-day showing.

TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, and the Ministry of Culture of Michoacán, a Mexican state, are sponsoring the exhibit. TnCIS is dedicated to making international education and cultural understanding a central goal of higher education in Tennessee. The consortium offers study abroad opportunities to college students throughout the state.

The display of Winslow’s art is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s new arts series, “The Arts at Pellissippi State.” The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

The exhibit is on display Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The showing is in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus. It is free and open to the public. Group tours from schools, art classes and artist groups are welcome and may be arranged with advance notice.

To learn more or schedule a group tour, contact Linnette Legg at (865) 539-7064 or llegg@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Additional information about TnCIS is available at www.tncis.org. For more about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.