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Brother Purvis Young gone but certainly not forgotten

mcneir | 4/5/2012, 6:04 a.m.

In the last few weeks, people in Overtown, the Design District and even in North Miami have held exhibitions that showcase the artistic genius of the late Purvis Young. Young, as we know, was the very essence of Overtown and his art was reflective of the streets, communities and the very people with whom he lived. He was our illustrator , like the African griots, that kept our history alive. But like so many before him, it was not until very late in his life that he began to receive the kind of recognition and honor that he deserved. Today there are many young Purviss who have their own visions of the Black community. And it is because of the contributions and the sacrifices that Young made during his lifetime, that others who now follow have been encouraged to develop their gifts and to seek their dreams. Looking at a painting by Purvis Young can be an almost surreal experience sometimes you see your grandmother, a dear uncle or aunt, an older sibling, the first minister you can remember from your childhood sometimes you may even see an image that looks hauntingly like you. But that is what makes the work of Young so amazing, so empowering and has made it and him so endearing to Miamis Black community. Tell your children the story of Purvis Young and take them to see his work. You may not have a Picasso or Rembrandt in your midst but then who needs them? After all, we have Purvis!