Lecture by Noted Artist and Actor Implores Us to Remember Our Past

Masud Ashley Olufani
Masud Ashley Olufani

Atlanta-based mixed media artist and actor Masud Ashley Olufani is the featured speaker for the 2018 Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Lecture at Telfair Museums. The artist will explain his work Blocked: A Global Healing Project at 6pm on September 13 at the Jepson Center.

Blocked: A Global Healing Project is a multidisciplinary presentation inspired by forgotten enslaved people who were transferred from auction block to plantation via Atlanta’s Crawford Frazier Negro Brokerage House. Through a live performance coupled with audio and visual media linked to slave-trade sites, Olufani illustrates slavery’s proximity in time to the present day and attempts to halt America in its pursuit to pave over its painful history.

While attending Atlanta’s Morehouse College in the 1990s, Olufani unknowingly visited a former slave-trade site, now land occupied by the public transportation hub known as the Five Points MARTA Station, hundreds of times. Both the discovery of the site’s historic past as Atlanta’s Crawford Frazier Negro Brokerage House and the realization that this past had been ignored led to Blocked: A Global Healing Project.

By disregarding its connections to slavery and the sites bearing the institution’s history, Olufani argues that the nation is prolonging transgenerational acts of intolerance and injustice.

“The demands required of silence – suppression and delusion – have deprived the nation of the difficult but restorative work necessary for healing – necessary for justice,” Olufani said. “This presentation is a humble attempt to peel back the veil of historical deception and expose a blithely ignorant and indifferent society to the cleansing light of truth.”

Olufani is a 2017 Southern Arts Prize State Fellow for Georgia, a Southwest Airlines Art and Social Engagement grant recipient, programs.

The lecture is free and open to the public, sponsored by the Jacob and Gwendolyn Lawrence Foundation, and presented by Telfair’s Friends of African American Arts. Investment is provided by the City of Savannah.

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