Tall on a New Day"
Mari Hall was commissioned to create original artwork
for the Fleetwood "First Day Cover" of the United States
Postal Service "1964 Civil Rights Act" Postage Stamp.
The series of stamps, entitled "To Form a More Perfect Union" will
be issued by the United States Post Office on August 30, 2005.
Description of Mari Hall's painting, on the Unicover
Corporation Website: "Civil
Rights Act (1964) In Mari Hall's masterpiece for the First Day
Cover, the walls of segregation lie shattered beneath an African
American couple and their child surrounded by the winds of change."
Mari's painting, entitled "Standing
Tall on a New Day" accompanies the U.S. Postage stamp
bearing the artwork of Jacob Lawrence ("Dixie
Cafe" by Jacob Lawrence, 1948). Other artists commissioned
for this historical series of First Day Covers include Dane
Tilghman, Sylvia L. Walker, Keith Mallett and James Denmark,
well known contemporary African American artists. Click
here for on line information at Unicover.
Mari Hall's painting "Standing Tall on a New
Day" will NOT be for sale through Mari Hall or BC.
All reproduction and copyrights are assigned to Unicover. However,
other work by Mari Hall is for sale through BlackCommentator.com.
Additionally all art work represented by BC may
be viewed by visiting the Art
Works page of this Website.
MARI'S COMMENTARY ON HER
"STANDING TALL ON A NEW DAY"
My intention was to show the positive aspect of
the long struggle endured by African Americans to obtain equal
rights under the US Constitution.
At first I was working with the idea of using the
rainbow as a metaphor for newly gained hope, but as I progressed
from the conceptual sketch to the painting itself, the rainbow
no longer was part of my artist vision. I wanted to paint what
I felt about the passage of the Civil Rights Act, and what this
meant to the people of African American heritage.
I knew that there were a lot of people involved
in the movement, but I opted to use the Universal Man, Woman & Child,
as being representative of the African American population in
America. I presented the Universal Man, Woman & Child clothed
in simple white garments, representing purity of intent, and
high spiritual goals. Their faces are dignified and solemn, rather
than rejoiceful, for they well know that the price paid for their
accomplishments came with a strong measure of pain, loss and
frustration. I made these figures very tall in relationship to
the background landscape because of the great heights they reached
through their diligence and forbearance.
Perhaps the most far-reaching result of the Civil
Rights Movement was the dismantling of the wall of segregation
between the races. It is impossible to recognize the humanity
of another person when a barrier of intimidation, fear and oppression
exists. In the painting, I chose to show the "wall of segregation" as
a crumbling and dismantled artifact, laying in ruins at the feet
of the Universal Man, Woman & Child. The crumbling wall is
shown in the front of the painting, incorporating words that
represented the reality of segregation in the United States,
like "Jim Crow Laws", "Black Codes" and "Never,
In the painting, the winds of change are blowing
around the Universal Family. I felt this was a more appropriate
metaphor than the rainbow. The winds show the high energy that
was needed to make the Civil Rights Movement achieve the high
goals that it did, such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act being signed
I wanted to show how important the passage of the
Civil Rights Act was to the African American family. It is very
important to have the means to sustain one's family, to provide
for one's children, to embrace life without living in the shadows
of constant fear. I wanted to show pride, dignity, and solemn
resolve in the faces of the Universal Man & Woman.
The original painting is done in oil paint on multimedia
I am very honored to contribute to this historical
series, and to be able to share my vision of this great historical