Roosevelt Watson is a contributing artist for LIFT: Contemporary Expressions of the African American Experience which presents a modern response to Jacksonville’s African American Heritage, while using the lyrics to James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson’s Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing as inspiration.
Roosevelt Watson is a Jacksonville native who has been producing artwork for more than 30 years. His passion can be seen in works that distort reality through dynamic mixed media works that draw their inspiration from Abstract Expressionism.
Growing up in Jacksonville, Watson recalls not having learned much about the accomplishments of his elders, so when he was introduced to the Johnson brothers, he was inspired to create his own work of art – a visualization of the song. Pulling inspiration from Jacob Lawrence’s The Toussaint Series, the work is an homage to the strength, confidence, and persistence of the slaughtered.
In Watson’s own words, “The African American experience is one that is continuously marginalized within the fabric of dominant American society. Though black contributions are wide reaching, there is still a weary union and limited exposure to or adoration of their specific achievements.”