Love Overflowing: Home and the Décor of Freedom
Image: Sheila Pree Bright, Suburbia Untitled #12, 2006. Chromogenic print. The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, 2008.1
Love Overflowing: Home and the Décor of Freedom follows the stories of notable Black Americans in the ways they have used their homes to reflect their achievements and progress after years of struggling through social and societal challenges. The exhibit includes a dollhouse with replicas of rooms designed similar to those in the homes of iconic figures such as washer woman turned self-made millionaire, Madame C.J. Walker; singer-actress Lena Horne; renowned poet Maya Angelou; educator-writer Booker T. Washington and social reformer-abolitionist Frederick Douglass. In capturing the essence of these homes and the stories inherent in their décor, Love Overflowing boasts walls painted
in the similar color of a room in Horne's Manhattan apartment and the attic of Walker's weekend estate, Villa
Lewaro in Irvington, New York; and the heavy wood furniture, such as a fancy chair with an
ornate backing in rich, green hues in the studies of Washington and Douglass. Love
Overflowing will also highlight the Shadyside Series of photographer, John Pinderhughes,
in photos of the interior of his grandparent's home in the historic Black beach community
on the eastern shore of Maryland where he spent his childhood years. Many of the pieces in
Love Overflowing will reflect how home décor was woven into the fabric of freedom
following struggles of Black Americans in the turbulent civil rights and renaissance eras of
the 1960's and 1970s respectively. F or famous and notable individuals, their home décor served as expressions of freedom, an example of what can be achieved through perseverance and the symbol of triumph in overcoming obstacles.
Ebony Test Kitchen
This exhibition will also pay particular homage to a culinary beacon in the 1970's, the
Ebony test kitchen, an elaborate space on the 10th floor of Ebony Magazine in Chicago.
The kitchen is a top-of-the-line reference many Black Americans have used for authentic
food experiences in their homes.
Love Overflowing will showcase a replica modeled after the kitchen's mod-1970-era
swirl paint patterns adorned in its signature orange and gold colors.
Love Overflowing: Home and the Décor of Freedom will include works from The
Amistad Center for Art & Culture and on loan.
The exhibition will be open October 12, 2023 to May 12, 2024.
Click here to see our film series for this exhibition
With the support of the Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives funds from the federal ARPA.
Pinderhughes, The Attic
Frank Mitchell, Ph.D,Curator-at-Large
"I want people to think about themselves, families, homes and how they connect to the bigger things in history to start thinking of these things now and make sure you've got pictures of them...
.... I hope this exhibition is a chance for people to think about what good memories they have from home and what their spaces say about them."
Frank Mitchell is a cultural organizer in visual arts and public humanities. He is The Amistad Center for Art & Culture’s Curator at Large and Curatorial Adviser for the Toni N. and Wendell C. Harp Historical Museum at New Haven’s Dixwell Q House. He is a consultant to SmokeSygnals, the region’s largest Indigenous-led exhibition design firm, on the forthcoming Mystic Seaport Museum exhibition Entwined: Freedom, Sovereignty, and the Sea.
Frank’s curatorial projects include the exhibitions Timeless: Telling Our Neighborhood Stories—Chapter 1: Constance Baker Motley, Finding Freeman(s), The Nutmeg Pulpit: Hartford’s Talcott Street Church & Black Community Formation—and with The Amistad Center—Afrocosmologies: American Reflections, 40 Acres: The Promise of a Black Pastoral, Hairitage, and Soulfood: African American Cooking and Creativity. Publications include the catalog Afrocosmologies: American Reflections, the anthology African American Connecticut Explored, and the culinary study African American Food Culture. He has taught at the University of Connecticut, Trinity College, the University of the Arts, and Franklin & Marshall College.
Frank began work in museums as a programmer for The Anacostia Museum and The Studio Museum in Harlem. A graduate of The University of Michigan’s PhD program in American Culture, he has a Master of Arts degree in African-American Studies from Yale University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bowdoin College. Mitchell serves as vice chair of the CTHumanities board, treasurer of the New England Foundation for the Arts board, and a member of the Elm Shakespeare Company and the Eli Whitney Museum boards.