My Shadow Precedes Me

“As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead.” —Martin Luther King Jr.

Exhibitions my shadow precedes me banner

Progressive’s African American Network (PAAN) and Corporate Art invite you to attend a special art event and reception to celebrate Black History Month: “My Shadow Precedes Me.”

This art exhibition promotes an increased appreciation for African American history, culture, and community. These artworks draw special attention to the innovation, imagination, and triumph that anchor the African American contribution to the broader American culture.

The title of the exhibition, “My Shadow Precedes Me,” references a line from a video work in the show: “Encore” by Isaac Julien. It’s an uplifting image of progress. Being preceded by one’s shadow necessarily indicates that the sun is at one’s back. Imagine a protagonist walking proudly, with the sun’s morning light behind, heading out into the bright potential of the new day.

In each work, we can see this story of empowerment and resolve. It’s found in the sincerity of Adam Pendleton’s heartfelt poetry and in the stoic stance of a black urban male entangled in the golden embellishments of Western culture in Kehinde Wiley’s painting. In Richard Hunt’s Aerial Meander, we see static bronze transformed into an impression of upward kinetic energy. And in Laylah Ali’s work on paper, we are presented a playful assortment of faces, the community of unique characters, whose distinct familial and civic roles provide stability for one’s life. And finally, we can see the evidence of empowerment and resolve in the faces of two church-going women sitting for the artist Julie Moos, women whose character and faith dictate how they set out in the proverbial morning light this exhibition title suggests.

We hope the artworks in this exhibition contribute positive energy to our workplace and, further, that the works become metaphors for our own complex journeys both within ourselves and our diverse communities.

About PAAN

Progressive’s African American Network (PAAN) helps promote an inclusive workplace by raising awareness of issues affecting African American employees at Progressive and serves as a resource to help our National Employment Team find ways to widen our candidate pool.

In 2009, PAAN was instrumental in our recruitment efforts, specifically in helping the National Employment Team find ways to attract a more diverse group of candidates. PAAN also took the lead in mentoring summer interns through INROADS, a national organization devoted to developing and placing talented minority youth. In addition, PAAN hosted a networking event with the Society of Urban Professionals, and conducted workshops to develop interviewing and networking skills.

Selections from “My Shadow Precedes Me”