BALTIMORE (WJZ) – The work of Baltimore artist Stephen Towns now teaches people a part of American history in the nation’s largest cultural destination devoted exclusively to documenting and exploring African American history.
“It still feels surreal, it just doesn’t feel real,” Towns said.
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These eight pieces are now on display at the Smithsonian’s Museum of African American History and Culture.
“The pieces are called ‘An Offering’ as a way for me to give them some kind of love and honor their memory,” Towns said.
Each of the portraits represent people from West Africa who were taken from their homes and forced to participate in the Atlantic slave trade in the Middle Passage.
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“You will see these little little portraits and you will also see this form of slave ship created with quilts,” Towns said.
Towns said some of the people depicted have been forgotten, but he wants to make sure they remember his work while inspiring others to learn more about their stories.
“I hope that long after I am gone they will inspire more work and more research on American history,” he said.
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You can see Towns’ pieces now on display on the fourth floor of the museum.