The Art of Activism

On Monday the 18th of October, students took their seats in the black box theater for a unique event. Organized by Professor Jon Keenan, Professor Donna Berghorn and Meredith Ellis ‘23, Portsmouth, N.H.-based artist Richard Haynes gave an hour-long presentation of his life and his work.

Haynes hails from Charleston, S.C., and comes from a line of sharecroppers. He and his family moved to the Bronx when he was in middle school. He later served four years in the U.S. Air Force as a dental technician and attended the Pratt Institute, where he obtained his MFA in 1979. He worked for CBS Publishing from 1979 to 1986. Then he founded his own company, Haynes Images, which was in operation until 2005. Haynes has also served as an adjunct professor at McIntosh College and an art instructor for the Currier Museum, among other roles. He is currently the associate director of admissions for diversity at the University of New Hampshire.

Haynes moved to Portsmouth with his family after vacationing there for many years. Although he is mainly known for his paintings, he is also a photographer. He uses his art to reflect the invisible and unheard people of America. His website states, “Richard uses his art not only to make society aware of the invisible in this world but also to provoke unity. It reflects his own colorful and diverse life.”

Haynes’ newest series of paintings, a set of 13 circular canvases, will be on display in the William H. and Sonja Carlson Davidow Fine Art Gallery starting on Feb. 3. After his Oct. 18 presentation, Haynes asked the students for a favor. He wanted short student pieces — poems or paragraphs written in response to his artwork — to be displayed alongside his paintings. The Word Order Club will be fielding the pieces and choosing works to be framed and hung in February.

The opening reception for Haynes’ collection will be held on Feb. 3 from 4 to 6 p.m. Haynes himself will be back on campus on Feb. 12 for a special Saturday afternoon event that begins at 1 p.m. His work will be available to see in the William H. and Sonja Carlson Davidow '56 Fine Art Gallery until May 10.