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Photography Show Celebrates Meredith’s Activism

Bozarts Gallery will show the work of photographer and activist Suzi Altman in an exhibition opening on Saturday, September 17, at 6 p.m.. The show titled “I’m Still Here: Documenting James Meredith” focuses on documentary photographs of Meredith who integrated the University of Mississippi 60 years ago in the fall of 1962.

The original portraits and photographs on display explore Meredith’s recent activities. The images are the result of a friendship between the photographer and the distinguished civil rights activist. Altman whose work focuses on social issues in Mississippi including race and gender relations and the preservation of folk heritage has been photographing in the state for more than 20 years. She has been photographing Meredith for more than a decade.

Altman began her career as a photographer in New York City at the Associated Press, after an internship at Rolling Stone Magazine, and work with acclaimed photographer Mary Ellen Mark. She has worked for many of the world’s leading publications including The New York Times, The London Observer, USA Today, and Reuter’s News Agency. In 2002 The New York Times hired Suzi to cover the 40th Anniversary of the desegregation of the University of Mississippi and thus started a 20-plus year friendship.

Her photographs have been selected for invitational shows, most recently in Youngstown, Ohio. Some of her work is in the Permanent Collection at the National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C. Altman says, “my camera has been my ticket to the explore the world. Photography allows me to focus on making the world a better place by using my camera as a tool to illustrate the issues I’m passionate about.”

Altman is passionate about social justice in Mississippi, and she shares with James Meredith a belief in the inspirational phrase “To Thine Own Self be True.” Altman says, “He has lived by his own truth and hopes to inspire others to do the same. We both know it is not an easy road to navigate and to remain true to your believes and yourself. Visionaries are often misunderstood in their lifetime.”

With the 60th anniversary of the integration of the University of Mississippi fast approaching on October 1, 2022, Bozarts Gallery celebrates the life and activism of James Meredith with this photography show. The exhibition will be on display through October 8. Gallery hours are Wednesday – Saturday 1-5 p.m. Mr. Meredith is expected to attend the opening reception on Saturday from 6-9 p.m. as part of the Water Valley Art Crawl. Attendance is free and open to the public.

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