Tuesday, April 15, 2008 12:41 PM CDT
Special to The Press Register
Today, the Delta Blues Museum will present the opening reception of Brandy Kayzakian-Rowe's "The American Delta," featuring her paintings and photography.
"The American Delta" is an exploration of modern Delta Blues culture as seen through the eyes of a young woman. Kayzakian-Rowe's work is a high-contrast, gritty and grainy tribute to the men and women bleeding their souls into the blues.
Shot completely in analog, "The American Delta" looks as if it had just been found in a dusty trunk stowed away at the turn of the century.
Accompanying the photography will be a selection of Kayzakian-Rowe's vibrant acrylic and watercolor paintings featuring both fictional and actual bluesmen and a very special Clarksdale resident.
Focusing on live performance, local heroes and southern landscapes, this collection is distinctively the American Delta.
As Kayzakian-Rowe tells it, "I stumbled upon the blues while I was working as an art education outreach teacher for The Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis. My job was to travel to different elementary schools each day and teach six to seven art classes in under funded schools lacking art programs.
"The Dixon allowed me a 60-mile radius to travel, encompassing Memphis, northern Mississippi and northeastern Arkansas. When the parent of a student in Clarksdale contacted me, I spoke with my supervisor about extending the parameters to include Clarksdale, which thankfully she did.
"After my day of teaching, the parent took me out to lunch and on a tour of the little blues town. I was in love! That very weekend I began my trips to Clarksdale and took one of my favorite images, Robinson Chapel Baptist Church."
Although Kayzakian-Rowe now lives in the Pacific Northwest, she says her subject matter tends to remain with the men and women of blues, roots and jazz music.
"The American Delta" will remain on view through Aug 15.
Reception begins at 5 p.m., with a gallery talk by the artist beginning at 5:30 p.m. Local musician Daddy Rich will also perform.
"The American Delta" sponsors include the Mississippi Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, Northwest Mississippi Regional Medical Center, Hendricks Gin, Raynal Brandy, Little Black Dress wines and Jack Daniel's, and Friends of the Delta Blues Museum.