The Boca Raton Museum of Art in Florida, USA is hosting Reginald Cunningham’s debut photography exhibition. Curated by Kelly Bodle, Black Pearls is a photography project dedicated to the people of Pearl City - a historically black neighborhood with generations worth of stories to share.
One of Cunningham’s goals for 2021 was to secure a solo exhibition so when Boca Raton commissioned this project he jumped at the opportunity. Previously he’s been published on the front cover of Vogue where he photographed his activist wife, Brittany Packnett Cunningham for the September 2020 issue which focussed on hope and activism.
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Reginald Cunningham aka @kidnoble on Instagram describes himself as a portrait, music, and editorial photographer but this latest project takes on a much more personal angle. Many of the residents of Pearl City are original settlers and Cunningham embarked on his project to document their pride and resilience and developments that continue to happen around them.
Talking about his photography, Cunningham says, “Through the lens of my photography I’m always trying to create affinity for and uplift Black and the Black experience in my country. Being commissioned by the Boca Raton Museum of Art to photograph the residents and cultural emblems of Pearl City - one of the south’s most beloved and enduring Black districts - is an amazing experience.”
Alongside the photos, there will also be a fully illustrated catalog featuring essays by Dr. Imani M. Cheers, the associate professor of digital storytelling at George Washington University and a historical essay by Dr. Candace Cunningham the Assistant Professor of History at Florida Atlantic University.
Irvin Lippman, the executive director of the Boca Raton Museum describes Cunningham’s project as a celebration of black identity and Cunningham himself as “a rare artist whose social activism matches his artistry”. He goes on to say, “this is definitely a project born in the community, that serves to create a record for future generations.
The exhibition runs from now until 23 January 2023 and features 24 photos by Cunningham as well as audio recordings from residents and essays. For more information head to the Boca Raton Museum webpage, tickets cost $12 for an adult, $10 for a student and all admissions include a free one-hour tour.