Kadir Nelson exhibition of the paintings from The Undefeated

Free Exhibition
at the Center Art Gallery
at Calvin University
February–April of 2020

All of the paintings
from The Undefeated will be on display
for Black History Month and
the Festival of Faith & Writing

Originally performed for ESPN's The Undefeated, the poem that forms the text backdrop of The Undefeated is a love letter to black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion, and perseverance of some of the world's greatest heroes. The text is also peppered with references to the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., Langston Hughes, Gwendolyn Brooks, and others, offering deeper insights into the accomplishments of the past, while bringing stark attention to the endurance and spirit of those surviving and thriving in the present. Kadir Nelson's paintings illustrate generations of black American heroes "emerging from the shadows."

"It begins with Jesse Owens literally jumping out of the darkness into the light ..." Nelson says. "By the time we get to toward the middle and end of the book those shadows have disappeared and the brilliance and excellence of the subjects have completely emerged into the bright light."

The public is welcome and encouraged to visit the exhibition anytime during the gallery's open hours. Individuals or small groups (fewer than 10 visitors) need not schedule a tour. To allow us to properly accommodate all visitors, we prefer that groups larger than 10 schedule their visits in advance using the calendar tool below.

The Center Art Gallery is located off the west entrance of the Covenant Fine Arts Center at Calvin University. Regular hours are as follows:

Monday – Tuesday
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Wednesday – Friday
9 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Saturday
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Book a Group Tour


This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from Michigan Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Michigan Humanities          National Endowment for the Humanities