Unchained: Allan Rohan Crite,
Spirituality, and Black Activism
Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute
February 19–May 8, 2022
This is the first exhibition to explore how the spiritual art of Allan Rohan Crite (1910–2007) reflected the African American quest for racial justice in the years leading up to the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibition brings together over 60 of the artist’s paintings, watercolors, works on paper, and sculptures that reveal how Crite’s art, faith, and social connections began inside spaces of worship and extended outside to the urban environment.
Allan Crite developed and devoted his artistic career to creating inspirational art for African American communities, especially in Boston. At the same time, his art provided a means to challenge caricatures of Black people in popular culture and the prejudice of his white audiences in general. Crite’s depictions of a Black Jesus in his illustrated works visualized an African American interpretation of Christianity with a powerful message of redemption. By interweaving faith, identity, and community in his art, Crite enabled the faithful to maintain their dignity, replenish hope, and overcome subjugation. His art provided a vehicle for the individual spiritual journey and outward community building necessary in the struggle for racial justice.