By Robert Burgins, Jr. 

Power, Triumph, Truth, read the slogan to one of the most intriguing art exhibitions shown in Alabama recently.  

This past September to December, the ‘Men of Change’ art exhibit garnered much praise. Held at Birmingham’s Civil Rights Institute, the exhibit highlighted world known African-American males that’ve become current innovators, recent sources of knowledge and inspirators beyond the grave. 

In partnership with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service along with the Ford Motor Company Fund and Community services, free to the public, the exhibit is one many are still talking about. 

 The exhibitions’ core content has been held at Birmingham’s Central Library branch, with the arts portion shown at BCRI’s Odessa Woolfolk Gallery.  

The arts portion we visited featured original artistic works (by a group of contemporary artists byway of invitation) of some of the exhibitions’ subjects such as Kendrick Lamar, James Baldwin, Muhammad Ali, W.E.B. DuBois, Dick Gregory, Lebron James and others.  

The artists drew inspiration from the real-life efforts, achievements, sacrifices and contributions of these men, highlighting key career moments, quotes, conversations and their (the subjects) own particular works as well.  

Within the exhibit were also photos, short films, news footage, documentarian type videos and other visual references to familiarize the audience with this select group, who’ve despite historical barriers, have contributed highly to modern day American society and throughout the entire world. 

One of the most riveting art works that caught our immediate attention was of a realistic depiction of businessman Robert Smith by Mario Moore, which challenges audiences to question how we see one another, especially black men in the world, with a hint of self-observation.  

Many themes are captured within the exhibit, as many subjects are questioned and misconceptions tackled within one room that challenges self-care awareness, unity, ideas and more. 

For future events and interest, visit or call 205-328-9696.