Trolley Books is proud to announce the forthcoming exhibition and publication by American photojournalist Dan Budnik, presenting his significant body of work documenting three seminal marches of the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibition will open in Trolley’s TJ Boulting Gallery in London, on Wednesday 28th August, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous ‘I Have A Dream’ speech. The exhibition will also coincide with a three week Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the publication, which is planned for Spring 2014.
Non-violence was always the guiding principle for Dr. King’s directions and actions: “Violence as a way of achieving racial justice is both impractical and immoral…..The old law of an eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding…. because it thrives on hatred rather than love…. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends by defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers.” Budnik’s photographs also show us the peaceful Youth March for Integrated Schools in 1958, organised by Harry Belafonte and Bayard Rustin, where the White House gates were rudely slammed in the faces of the petitioners. In March of 1965, the Selma to Montgomery March was executed decisively in the heart of the segregationist American South, and it became Dr. Martin Luther King’s greatest achievement.
King’s Dream speech launches both the exhibition and the beginning of the campaign for the book, the first of a series of 50th anniversaries over the next few years, including the Civil Rights Act in 2014 and the Selma to Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act in 2015. It resonates with contemporary struggles of many people throughout the world today. Just as King was influenced by Gandhi’s passive resistance in India, utilising soul force to combat brute force, today we reflect on Nelson Mandela’s role, as one who propagated the non-violent message in gaining civil rights for his people. Recently the Supreme Court in the US eviscerated the hard-won National Voting Rights Act, much to the sadness of President Obama.
The exhibition will feature black and white prints with the hand-written captions by Dan, as well as a new film Directed by Stephen J. Bell of interviews with Budnik talking about the history he was a part of, with his stills of the Civil Rights movement and Freedom Songs. As Budnik says, “I hope that the images convey my point of view, like that of Dr. King’s, showing that non-violence is the only way to affect political and social change. Anything less will always diminish the future of the human race.&amp;quot;
Dan Budnik (b.1933, Long Island, NY) studied painting at the Art Students' League of New York. After being drafted, he started photographing the New York school of Abstract Expressionist artists in the mid-fifties, making it his primary focus for several decades. He made major photo-essays on Willem de Kooning and David Smith, among many other artists. It was his teacher Charles Alston at the Art Students' League of New York, the first African- American to teach at the League, who inspired his interest in documentary photography and the nascent Civil Rights Movement.
In 1957 he started working at Magnum Photos, New York, assisting several photographers, notably Cornell Capa, Burt Glinn, Eve Arnold, Ernst Haas, Eric Hartmann and Elliott Erwitt. In March 1958 Budnik ventured to Havana, Cuba, to live with members of the Cuban underground for 6 weeks during the Cuban revolution, his first photojournalistic self-assignment. Budnik retained his close relationship with Magnum Photos, joining as an associate member in 1963 for a year and a half. In 1964 Budnik continued specialising in essays for leading national and international magazines, focussing on civil and human rights and ecological issues in the United States and Europe. Since 1966 his focus has been on Native American issues, first with the Taos Pueblo in New Mexico in their long religious struggle to regain ownership to their sacred Blue Lake shrine. Since 1970 Budnik has documented the Hopi and Navajo traditionals and their resistance to the stripmining of coal on their sacred lands. He received a Polaroid Foundation Grant in 1980 to continue his photographic documentation of their struggle. In 1973 he received a National Endowment for the Arts Grant to continue what became a 12-year documentation of the pollution and fragile beauty of the Hudson River in New York. Budnik was the recipient of the prestigious Honor Roll Award of the American Society of Media Photographers in 1998. He lives and works in Tucson and Flagstaff, Arizona.
For more information please contact Hannah Watson: email@example.com
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