2020 Winter Show Highlights Artist Andrew LaMar Hopkins
NOEL KING, HOST:
The Winter Show, which is an annual exhibition of art and antiques, is open this week in New York City. This year, the paintings of Andrew LaMar Hopkins are on display. Hopkins is a folk artist based in New Orleans, and his work depicts early 19th century Creole life there.
ANDREW LAMAR HOPKINS: When I walk around the French Quarter, I just - New Orleans. I'm inspired by looking at the beautiful architecture of a street scene with buildings from the early 19th century and imagining, what would this block look like 200 years ago?
KING: It's not just architecture; his paintings also show the lives of people of color who lived free in the United States before emancipation.
HOPKINS: From a small age, I started reading about these free people of color who were free during the time of slavery, who, you know, owned real estate. They were very successful people. And I thought, you know, this is something that's not really taught in schools.
KING: His paintings are really intricate, right down to the patterns on the carpets and the embellished furniture that was really common at that time.
HOPKINS: Yeah, when you look at my paintings, a lot of the floorboards, the furniture, I paint the wood gratings in those. Fabrics, wallpapers, you know - how, like - on clothing from that period, they're extremely detailed.
KING: And he knows those details because he used to be an antiques dealer, and he studies the inventories that were taken in New Orleans houses after people had died.
HOPKINS: I'm happy they did that because we have the ideal of a free woman of color who lived in a Creole cottage, what type of furniture and decorative art she would have had.
KING: Hopkins says he considers it his mission to tell the world about free people of color who lived throughout the South. His work is on display all this week in New York City, and the Winter Show runs through Sunday.
(SOUNDBITE OF CHRISTIAN SCOTT ATUNDE ADJUAH'S, "SUNRISE IN BEIJING")
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