Unchained: Allan Rohan Crite, Spirituality and Black Activism is one in a series of American art exhibitions created through a multi-year, multi-institutional partnership formed by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, as part of the Art Bridges Initiative.
Organized by Munson-Williams in collaboration with the African American Community Partners, Unchained: Allan Rohan Crite, Spirituality and Black Activism is the first exhibition to explore how the spiritual art of Allan Rohan Crite (1910–2007) reflected the African American quest for racial justice in the years leading up to the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibition brings together over 60 of the artist’s paintings, watercolors, works on paper, and sculptures that reveal how Crite’s art, faith, and social connections began inside spaces of worship and extended outside to the urban environment.
Allan Crite developed and devoted his artistic career to creating inspirational art for African American communities, especially in Boston. At the same time, his art provided a means to challenge caricatures of Black people in popular culture and the prejudice of his white audiences in general. Crite’s depictions of a Black Jesus in his illustrated works visualized an African American interpretation of Christianity. By interweaving faith, identity, and community in his art, Crite enabled the faithful to maintain their dignity, replenish hope, and overcome subjugation. His art provided a vehicle for the individual spiritual journey and outward community building necessary in the struggle for racial justice.
Delight in the beauty of Crite’s imagery as he expanded the definition of 20th-century art. Explore the relationship between the Black community’s quest for racial uplift and the Biblical stories, Black spirituals, and street scenes that Crite depicted. Discover the role Crite’s spiritual art played in fostering moral resilience during the years that Black churches laid the foundation for the crusade that would transform the political and religious landscape of America: the Civil Rights Movement.