Nina Simone – Mississippi Goddam
Medium: Original oil on archival gallery wrap canvas
Size: 48″ x 60″
Dr. Nina Simone was a very talented and fearless performer not afraid to sing about the ugly truth in America. She wrote and performed the song “Mississippi Goddam” as a response to the horrors experienced by Civil Rights activists and supporters.
This portrait of a young Nina in a reflective pose has the state of Mississippi behind her and the city of Jackson over her right shoulder where Medgar Evers was assassinated.
In the background I painted a spirit portrait of Medgar Evers. Just below his portrait is a nameless symbol of the unjust lynching of African-Americans, both men and women, taking place in America. Below the lynching is the type of bullet that entered Medgar Evers back murdering him and the Enfield 1917.303 rifle that carried the bullet. On June 12, 1963 Medgar Evers pulled into his driveway after returning from a Civil Rights meeting with the NAACP. He emerged from his car carrying a box of NAACP T-shirts that read “Jim Crow Must Go”. He was shot in the back and died 50 minutes later in the local hospital. (continued below . . . )
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Nina Simone’s song reflects on the Birmingham church bombing that killed four little girls attending Sunday school and wounding 23 others. On the right side of the painting are spirit portraits of the four girls that lost their young lives: Denise McNair, Cynthia Wesley, Addie Mae Collins, and Carole Robertson along with the rubble of a devastated church.
Both Nina and the state of Mississippi are placed over the “Notorious” Rebel Flag representing the ever prevalent platform of racism that constantly rears its ugly head of injustice all over this country in one form or another to this very day.
This portrait was inspired by an invitation to participate with other selected artists around the country in a visual tribute to Nina and her music, the Dr. Nina Simone Project. Nina: No Illusions, No Escape. I completed another portrait of Nina Simone, “Hear Comes The Sun”, using my Plastic Space signature style.