Excerpted from an exhbition and catalogue featuring paintings produced by Daniel Minter's artist-in-residency at the University of Southern Maine, Gorham, in late 2018.
Daniel Minter uses his art as a tool for dialogue with his community. He is the co-founder and creative visionary of the Portland Freedom Trail, a system of granite and bronze markers that constitutes a permanent walking trail highlighting the people, places and events associated with the anti-slavery movement in Portland. Minter’s work also marks the Malaga Island Trail commemorating the Black, European, and Native American residents of the island who were forcibly removed by the state of Maine in 1912.
Daniel Minter’s paintings, carvings, block prints and sculptures have been exhibited both nationally and internationally at galleries and museums and he has illustrated 11 children’s books, including Step Right Up; How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness, and Ellen's Broom which won a Coretta Scott King Illustration Honor; Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story, winner of a Best Book Award from the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio; and The Riches of Oseola McCarty, named an Honor Book by the Carter G. Woodson Awards.
From the exhbition page: Malaga Island is a small island on the coast of Maine that in 1912 the State purchased, ordered the mixed-race fishing community to leave, removed the buildings and exhumed the cemetery. USM Artist-in-Residence Daniel Minter, known for his visual storytelling, recalls this complex story with paintings, assemblage, and a small house in the gallery filled with historical photographs and archeological artifacts relaying a sense of place, loss, emptiness, and wholeness.
"I imagine that the people of Malaga Island were able to maintain the sense of an inner home even at a time when every outward representation of home was being taken away. The image of the person standing in the water; the turbulent calm of the body and visage are reminders that in the face of eradication we may disappear but our spirits are not diminished. Our physical home is shallow whereas the depth of our inner home cannot be measured." —Daniel Minter
Learn more about the history of Malaga Island in the accompanying 2019 Island Journal article, "The Story of Malaga" by Kate McBrien.