M.J. Alexander's "Portrait of a Generation" brings images of Oklahoma children to the state Capitol
From Sunday’s Life section of The Oklahoman.
Oklahoma photographer’s exhibit captures a “Portrait of a Generation”
BAM: M.J. Alexander’s show in the Capitol’s North Gallery features several state children, including my now-21-month-old daughter, Brenna.
Ambling through the state Capitol in her bright red dress, glossy black Mary Jane shoes and shiny strawberry-blond curls, my 21-month-old daughter can get more than her share of oohs, ahhs and adoring looks.
But through the lens of M.J. Alexander, Brenna Faire McDonnell has become more than just a cute baby. She has become a symbol of Oklahoma’s children.
“The image of her is iconic,” said Alyson Moses, curator of education and Capitol galleries for the Oklahoma Arts Council. “It’s just an attention-grabber. It has made people walk down that hall.”
Alexander’s photography exhibition “Portrait of a Generation: Sons and Daughters of the Red Earth” is on view through April 15 in the North Gallery on the first floor of the state Capitol. And the artist’s portrait of Brenna as a newborn is one of the first photos you see when you enter the gallery.
“When I first lay stuff out, I don’t know where it’s going to go, so I just kind of line everything up against the wall in no particular order, and I noticed how many people stopped just to look at the baby,” Moses said.
“It caught everyone’s attention. Like I would turn around and people would just be crouching down looking at the picture. … And to see that she’s just 100 hours old, it’s a meaningful photograph.”
Considering Brenna isn’t quite 2 and already has her portrait exhibited at the state Capitol — even temporarily — the photo certainly is meaningful for our family. Although we have a copy of the image hanging in our home, we took Brenna during spring break to see her picture in the Capitol, where she reunited with Alexander.
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