Martin Luther King at Palazzo Blu, PisA

BLOG 26th APRIL 2018 


From the 4th to 30th April 2018 there was an exhibition at Palazzo Blu in Pisa entitled,

          Omaggio a Martin Luther King, jr: breve percorso attraverso la sua storia

          Homage to Martin Luther King, jr: a brief journey through his story   

It was on 4th April 1968 that Dr Martin Luther King was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee aged thirty-nine. King was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1929, became a Baptist minister and gained a Ph.D in 1955 in Systematic Theology at Boston University. In 1954 he became leader of the civil rights movement in America and in 1964 he fame was assured when he was awarded the Noble Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through non-violent resistance.

In collaboration with Palazzo Blu, Norma Jean Bishop, Editor of Lucca’s monthly Grapevine magazine curated the exhibition organizing photographs, a painting and many written and drawn observations and contributions from people of all age groups.

Palazzo Blu.jpg

Palazzo Blu is located at Lungarno Gambacorti, 9 on the south bank of the River Arno in the historic centre of Pisa. The palazzo gained its name from the blue colour that was attributed to its 18th century Russian owners that was uncovered during recent architectural renovations. With funding from the Cassa di Risparmio di Pisa it has been managed by the Fondazione Palazzo Blu as a museum space for temporary artistic and cultural exhibitions for more than ten years.

As a friend, Norma suggested that I should paint a portrait of Martin Luther King for the exhibition from a black and white photograph she had in her possession. This I was able to achieve in time for the painting’s inclusion in the exhibition and at the time I was not aware that the poster had used the same photographic pose.

Exhibition poster 

Exhibition poster 

My portrait of MLK

My portrait of MLK

On the 26th April myself and good friend Tom England took the bus to visit the Palazzo Blu museum to view the exhibition and the Palazzo generally. It was quite an honour to be able my work there and to see also two black and white photos that Tom had taken in 1968 at the age of twenty.

Tom is a highly regarded American photo-journalist who has travelled the world reporting for many important journals such as Time Magazine and worked closely with President Jimmy Carter (also from the State of Georgia) on several assignments at home and abroad. Now living permanently in Lucca with his wife Lola, Tom can often be seen taking photographs in and around Lucca either by himself or with students. 

My painting with one of Tom’s photos                                                                                              Tom’s iconic photo  Vietnam

My painting with one of Tom’s photos                                                                                              Tom’s iconic photo Vietnam

Tom’s photo Vietnam was one of several he took during the anti-war demonstrations in the late 1960s.

The exhibition was a great success and Norma was able to obtain much of the contributions and it is hoped to show again in the future.