EAST POINT, Ga.- On Saturday, May 6th, The ArtsXchange, which is located in East Point, hosted the opening reception of Now is the Day: A LIFE WELL LIVED, ARCHIVAL EXHIBITION CELEBRATING THE LATE GREAT DR. DORIS DERBY.
The posthumous art exhibit is dedicated to honoring Dr. Doris Derby, a civil-rights icon and world-renowned artist who worked in several mediums such as dance, photography, painting, and others.
The exhibit displayed Derby’s professional portfolio and personal memorabilia. In attendance at the reception was Dr. Bob Banks, Derby’s husband.
“She did an excellent job of putting photos out. A lot of them were from long ago,” Banks told The Atlanta Voice. “The happiest memory for me is when we got married 27 years ago and we had the opportunity to meet a lot of people and a lot of people met us. We had a perfect life.”
Maude ‘I Bruce, the assistant to Derby’s estate, also attended the event Saturday and remarked on the effective impact of Derby’s work.
“As you look around you can see the effect Dr. Derby’s work has had,” Bruce told The Atlanta Voice. “Her pictures speak words, they speak volumes, and they speak loudly of her life and her dedication to civil rights and the civil rights movement. But when you see people coming out. like they are coming out today they recognize that her life is not in vain cause she gave her life and we are living her life right now.”
The ArtsXchange gallery exhibited works from Derby’s past, including photographs of Muhammad Ali, Judy Pace, and Nina Simone. Courtney Brooks curated the exhibit. She was invited by Bruce after Derby mentioned her admiration during a Sistagraphy exhibit, a collective of female African-American photographers of which Dr.Derby was a proud member of. Sistagraphy also sponsored the exhibit. Brooks composed the exhibit after visiting Banks and Derby’s house following her passing.
“I wanted to tell the story of the younger Doris and her journey through life, including her dancing, photography, and activism as a civil rights icon,” Brooks said. “I also wanted to provide some details about her life. Throughout the gallery, I included flowers because she received many flowers during her time with Sistagraphy, and she herself collected flowers. Dr. Derby was such a fascinating person, and I wanted to showcase each part of her life.”
Dr. Derby contributed more than just her personal art to history. In 1990, she began her tenure at Georgia State University, joining the University System of Georgia as an adjunct associate professor of anthropology. She was also the founding director of the Office of African-American Student Services and Programs at Georgia State, supporting the retention and graduation of numerous African-American students and fostering cultural and educational connections between the Black diaspora.
Dr. Derby passed away on March 28th, 2023 at the age of 82 years old.
The Exhibit will be open through June 10th located at 2148 Newnan Street, East Point, GA 30344.