Local artist in the thick of Juneteenth festivities

Artist Alex Bostic is having quite a year. In February, the US Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp honoring sculptor Edmonia Lewis, bearing a portrait of Lewis that Bostic painted from a photograph. He purposely gave her a determined look.

Then in May a children’s book titled, Free At Last: A Juneteenth PoemThe poem that forms the text of the book was written by Sojourner Kincaid Rolle. It describes the reactions of slaves in Galveston, Texas when they suddenly learned they were free. Some dropped their work implements and went home to rest. Some continued to work to earn a pittance, while others gathered to thank the Lord. At least one young man danced.

Free at Last He used family, friends and his former students from Mississippi State University as models for his portraits. He dressed them in period costumes and his son, Kamau Bostic, a professional photographer, took their picture. The first children’s book Bostic has illustrated. Bostic then painted realistic, large-scale portraits of the subjects.

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