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New GW Art Exhibit Looks at African-American Life 25 Years After Iconic ‘Songs of My People’

February 03, 2017
Jason Shevrin:, 202-994-5631
Kurie Fitzgerald:, 202-994-6461
A new photography exhibition at the George Washington University will present a re-imagined version of the internationally successful project “Songs of My People,” which debuted at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in 1992, looking at African-American life through the eyes of 50 African American photographers.
Under the direction of Imani M. Cheers and GW’s School of Media and Public Affairs, the new exhibition, “Songs of My People: 25 Years Later,” explores many issues from the original project and highlights the progress African-Americans have made in the last quarter of a century. Created by GW students, faculty and alumni, as well as other talented artists across the country, the new photographs give a positive, balanced portrayal of the African-American community during a time of turbulent social and political unrest, whether the last 25 years or the last 25 days. Works examine issues of beauty, pride, love, family, struggle and protest.
The exhibit will be presented at Gallery 102, a student-run exhibition space at GW. An opening celebration event will be held at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, 25 years after the original photo project launched there. 
Panelists at the opening celebration event will include:
  • Michael Cheers, associate professor of photojournalism and photojournalism coordinator, San Jose State University; Dr. Cheers is one of the editors and photographers from the original “Songs of My People” project
  • Rhea Combs, curator of film and photography, National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Ruddy Roye, Instagram Photographer of the Year, TIME magazine
  • Deborah Willis, university professor and chair of the Department of Photography & Imaging, Tisch School of the Arts at New York University
  • Imani M. Cheers, assistant professor of media and public affairs, GW (moderator)
Celebration Event:
Friday, Feb. 10, 2017
6:30 p.m.
Monday, Feb. 6 through Friday, March 3, 2017
9 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays, closed weekends
Celebration Event:
The George Washington University 
Corcoran School of the Arts and Design
Hammer Auditorium
500 17th St., NW
Washington, D.C.
Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Blue, Orange and Silver lines)
The George Washington University 
Smith Hall of Art
Gallery 102
801 22nd St., NW
Washington, D.C. 
Foggy Bottom-GWU Metro (Blue, Orange and Silver lines)
The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information, call Gallery 102 at 202-994-6085 or visit
Media interested in attending must contact Jason Shevrin at or 202-994-5631. Attention calendar editors: Please do not publish media contact information.
About the original “Songs of My People:”
In 1989 an eclectic group of 50 African-American photographers were assigned to travel across the U.S. and document life in black America – the good, bad and everything in between (the ordinary and extraordinary). They shot more than 5,000 images over six months. The photo exhibition, “Songs of My People, African Americans: A Self-Portrait,” debuted at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington 25 years ago.