Highlights from the Collection: Dana C. Chandler Jr.’s The Ghetto

Dana C. Chandler Jr. (aka Akin Duro), The Ghetto, 1980
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On View Sep 18, 2017 - Mar 05, 2018
Dana C.
Chandler Jr
Exhibition Location: Window Arcade Gallery

Window Arcade Gallery

The display of this painting is part of a program that brings focus to exceptional artworks from deCordova’s permanent collection. Works are rotated periodically, allowing visitors to experience rarely seen pieces. 

Since the 1960s Dana C. Chandler Jr. has been committed to addressing social inequities fostered by racism in the United States. His art confronts the stark realities of poverty, incarceration, and oppression as well as leadership and empowerment in African-American history and contemporary life. In this painting, a monumental, central figure is positioned between a garbage-strewn street and a crumbling domestic interior. Rendered in saturated colors and stark outlines, the vignettes offer a disorienting and claustrophobic view of the bleak environment. According to Chandler, “My job is to depict, without hatred or rage, our cancers, self-inflicted or otherwise, point to solutions, and present them to you visually. Not just to paint pretty pictures, though I can do that as well.”

Chandler was born in 1941 in Lynn, Massachusetts. A community activist and educator, he taught at Simmons College between 1971 and 2015, where he developed an Afrocentric curriculum. He founded the African American Master Artists-in Residency Program at Northeastern University in 1977. Chandler was named Man of the Year by the Boston chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in 1970. He currently lives and works in Gallup, New Mexico.