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Jac Lahav: The Great Americans

On view: June 21 - September 8, 2023
A drawing of Martin Luther King by artist Jac Lahav
Brought to you by local artist Jac Lahav, The Great Americans (2010 - Present) is a series of over 35 life-sized portraits re-telling iconic narratives of American history. Lahav’s portraits of famous Americans challenge the viewer's expectations by depicting well-known and under-represented icons in unconventional ways through dress and pose. These works explore the concept of layering in portrait painting, revealing how individual and group identity can be peeled away like an onion skin, but still assume a larger meaning as a whole.
This exhibition of Great Americans at the Slater Memorial Art Museum offers an unconventional representation of iconic figures, new and old, who have shaped our perceptions of American history. By doing so, Lahav exposes a clash between image and substance in our contemporary culture and asks the question, “How do we celebrate our shared history through portraiture?"
These works are part of a touring exhibition and have appeared at the Richmond Art Museum, the Saginaw Museum of Art, in Michigan, the Longview Museum of Fine Art in Texas, and the Florence Griswold Museum in Connecticut. This iteration of the exhibition features over 12 new paintings of notable Norwich historical icons, including David Ruggles, Sarah Harris Fayerweather, Samuel Ashbow Jr., and many more.