Last week, The Steffen Thomas Museum of Art held a private opening for a new art display that is now open to the public.
“Casting the net of Brotherhood” will be on display through September 1 at the STMA. The artwork highlights Steffen Thomas’ commitment to exploring the universal human spirit that transcends all religious, political, social, or ethnic differences.
According to Patricia DuBose, director of the STMA, “The exhibition features rarely-seen works by the artist heralding Thomas’ belief that ‘This world is too small for less than brotherhood, too dangerous for less than truth.’”
The STMA selected pieces from Thomas’ body of work that best reflected three main themes: Brotherhood, Family of Man, and Motherhood.
“Thomas’ philosophy emphasized the idea that universal commonalities bind all people and cultures, and in his art, he embraced the importance of the unity of all people despite their religion, sex, nationality and citizenship,” explained DuBose. “To quote the artist’s studio message, which centers on the common thread amongst all people and is part of the exhibition, ‘But you are I, traversing through the labyrinth that leads to paradise . . . You are welcome here as man – that which am I – never my keeper nor my lamentor.’”
For Thomas, the powerful experience of motherhood is one such unifying theme that binds all of humanity together.
“The concept of motherhood – nurturing children in preparation for releasing them into the world as contributing leaders of tomorrow – is represented in various works that show the importance and seriousness of motherhood and, above all, sacrifice of one’s self,” explained Dubose.
Thomas, born in 1906, was inspired by the many pivotal historical events that unfolded throughout his lifetime.
“During the time that Steffen traversed this earth [in Germany and America, 1906 – 1990], he witnessed many events that drove expressionism in his art … war, tyranny, the defeat of tyranny, racism at the highest level, the civil rights movement, and women’s liberation. His ideas of how these events shaped our people and communities are as relevant today as they were when he lived,” said Alice Lee Andreottola, show curator, when asked about how pieces were selected. She added, “The philosophies of Khalil Gibran, Walt Whitman, St Francis, and Don Quixote were important to Steffen and are fully represented in the art selected as well.”
According to the STMA, in this exhibition, visitors will see the evolution of how Steffen Thomas developed his theme of brotherhood over his entire career, which culminated in the creation of his Monument to the Brotherhood of Man over fifty years ago. Although that sculpture, made at the artist’s studio home in Stone Mountain, was lost when the home was sold to developers in the 1970s, studies on paper were preserved and feature prominently in this exhibition. The public is invited to view the exhibition during normal museum hours Tuesday – Saturday from 11 AM – 4 PM through Sept. 1. The museum is located at 4200 Bethany Road, Buckhead, GA. 706- 342-7557. www.steffenthomas.org. Small admission fee for non-members. Please call the museum for further questions.