Bearman Gallery

Located on the third floor of the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Museum, Bearman Gallery features a rotating exhibition of local African American art that is reflective of the historical significance and sanctity of the location, and celebrates unsung and emerging artists as well as mid-career and seasoned voices. The work covers a broad range of styles and mediums and uplifts history while creating a current connection to life and art in the African American communities of Baltimore.

In-person visits are welcome. Please schedule by calling (410) 685-0295.

All artwork is available for purchase; a portion of the proceeds support the museum. For inquiries about the gallery or artwork, please contact: Meg Ward

Kibibi Ajanku,

Curator-in-Residence

Kibibi Ajanku is an independent curator based in Baltimore, Maryland. Ajanku has traveled the African Diaspora to study, teach, perform, and exhibit with many masters, and is the Founding Mother of the Baltimore-based Sankofa Dance Theater, a group that continues to share joyous spirit by bringing movement and rhythm together in layered, interlocking rhythmic patterns.
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Freedom Train…Harriet Tubman, Freedom Fighter

Artist: Ed Towles

We are proud to introduce the latest exhibition in Bearman Gallery, Freedom Train, available in an ambitious new virtual 3-D format. We welcome you to experience the exhibition from your computer and “step foot” into the gallery as if you are standing in front of each of the pieces.

Bundled up. Ready my pack. Ain’t got no time to look back.
Followin’ dat drinkin’ gourd
Got my water. Got my gun. I’m on a quest to find the sun.
Followin’ dat drinkin’ gourd
Take a sip. Get some rest. Gonna keep lookin’ to find the best.
Followin’ dat drinkin’ gourd

– Jumoke Ajanku

Artist:

Ed Towles

Watch Ed Towles discuss Freedom Train during the Opening Reception

During the year 2020, in addition to a worldwide coronavirus pandemic crisis, widespread protests were witnessed across the United States in response to the police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and too many other African Americans at the hands of police brutality. Demonstrations also erupted in the United Kingdom, Australia, France and several other countries in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, and in protest of these countries’ own domestic cases of institutional racism. The oppressive nature of violence in current times allows for an examination of similarities to the oppression of the chattel slavery that America was built upon. And our thoughts shift to Harriet Tubman… Her birth name was Araminta “Minty” Ross, and she was born in Maryland around 1822. She adopted her mother’s name, “Harriet”, after escaping enslavement. Tubman was the last name of her true love.

Harriet Tubman was far ahead of her time. Consider the violent brutality of chattel slavery. It is hard to imagine the amount of fortitude and courage it took to run away, given that the cost of capture would certainly bring about a style of torture that could make death a welcomed choice. But, Harriet was not intended for servitude. During her years as an enslaved youngster, an angry overseer threw a metal weight at another servant, but it hit Tubman instead. The resulting head injury would bring about sudden and deep sleeping spells for the rest of her life. She considered the dreams she had during these spells to be religious visions, and it was this religiosity that was the driving motivation for leading plantation captives in flight. Harriet courageously ran for her own freedom, and later, became a conductor on the legendary Underground Railroad, helping countless others go north. History would see Tubman as the railroad’s most famous conductor, known as the “Moses of her people”. It has been said that she never lost a “passenger” she was leading to freedom.

Nineteen times she went back south
To get three hundred others
She ran for her freedom nineteen times
To save Black sisters and brothers

– J Eloise Greenfield

Harriet Tubman’s work as a freedom fighter often intersected with other brave freedom fighters of her time, like Frederick Douglass. They were both born on the Eastern Shore of Maryland within years of each other. Had this been today, both would have been celebrated broadly for their social justice strides, as well as for bringing about a modicum of inclusion, as necessary for human survival.

Across a myriad of current efforts, we are searching for ways to express how intentionally obscured history and legacy can be experienced authentically through African American contemporary artistry. In the gallery, we contemplatively regard objects placed on walls in quiet reverence, and often those same objects are permeated with deep meaning. The Freedom Train exhibition is about more than meets the eye. At its core, it is about the spirit of overcoming inequities through the power of artistry. The exhibition coincides with and stands in juxtaposition to behaviors that confront humanity. Much has changed, yet much remains the same. The memory of Harriet Tubman lives as an African American iconic figure. As a conductor on the Underground Railroad that paved the way to freedom for so many, her legacy stands tall among freedom fighters in the accounts of social justice.

This collection is entitled Freedom Train, and it features the artwork of Ed Towles. It is available and accessible in this ambitious format through the generosity of Joseph Ford, Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Museum, and the Living Classrooms Foundation.

Kibibi Ajanku, MFA
Curator-in-Residence
Bearman Gallery
Fells Point, Baltimore, Maryland

Welcome to the Freedom Train Opening Reception

Watch Kibibi Ajanku’s Curator Talk at the Opening Reception

Read the Baltimore Magazine article about Ed Towles’s last exhibition in Bearman Gallery honoring Frederick Douglass during the bicentennial celebration of his birth in 2018.

Read the article here

Upcoming Installation: Indigo Pathways by Kibibi Ajanku

Visit the Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Webpage

Host Your Next Event in the Bearman Gallery

Are you looking for the perfect venue for your reception, banquet, party or meeting? Look no further. The Bearman Gallery provides the perfect space for your special occasion or corporate event. Nestled on the water, the gallery’s large glass windows and breathtaking view can be used to make your special occasion a success.

For more information about Event Rentals please contact events@livingclassrooms.org.

Contact Us
Phone: (410) 685-0295
Email: Meg Ward

Locate Us
Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park
1417 Thames Street
Baltimore, MD 21231