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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Photographer E. Mackey earns Harvey B. Gantt Center honor
Atlanta creative opens photo exhibit
Published Thursday, April 22, 2021 10:08 am
by Ashley Mahoney

Atlanta-based photographer E. Mackey is the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture’s new artist-in-residence.

E. Mackey is the new artist-in-residence at the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

The photographer’s exhibit, “Choose Your Weapon,” which will be on display in June, is an exploration of his book “Lift Every Voice,” which tells stories of triumph, struggle and protest among Black Americans. The exhibit will be housed in the Gantt’s second-floor, Hewitt Gallery, which has been used for exhibitions focusing on social justice since 2018 with the launch of the Initiative for Equity + Innovation.

Mackey, who is based in Atlanta, author and entrepreneur recently led a middle school artist residency pilot titled “EnVision Me” at the Gantt. The six-week program concluded last month.

“It is an absolute honor to have been selected as the artist-in-residence at the Harvey B. Gantt Center,” Mackey said. “Understanding what the organization represents and the magnitude of what it means to the community, it is humbling to know that I have been given a platform to contribute to the museum's mission. I look forward to everything that is to come, and it is my sincere hope that something that I do inspires greatness in someone else.”

The Gantt’s residency program was established in 2010 with the intention of supporting Black artists who are inspired by African American culture, committed to artistic investigation and have an interest in community engagement.

“We are honored to provide a platform that can amplify E. Mackey’s vision, especially as it aligns so perfectly with our own,” Gantt President and CEO David Taylor said in a statement. “We witnessed his passion for art as activism and his willingness to take on new challenges in his stellar performance as our teaching artist for EnVision Me, one of our Initiative for Equity + Innovation programs. We hope to harness Mackey’s considerable expertise toward advancing the Initiative even further with an exhibition that demonstrates, undeniably: Black Lives Matter.”

Mackey, a Miami native, started his career in 2002 as a musician, fashion designer and businessman. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in clothing textiles and merchandizing from Florida State University in 2010, but his love affair with photography began in 2011 when he used his camera to tell the stories of Miami’s homeless through social media. Then Mackey founded Dope Heart Media, a creative agency providing creative services such as graphic design, photography and video production, in 2012. He has worked with Hennessy, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Twitter, Google, eBay, Amazon and Pfizer.

Mackey launched Blvck Spades, a lifestyle brand, in 2019. It grew from a deck of playing cards to clothing, household items, electronics and accessories. Last summer, he traveled to 11 cities documenting the Black Lives Matter movement and his work was used by media outlets such as CNN and The Washington Post, and Frito-Lay’s Doritos brand in a commercial.

The experience resulted in “Lift Every Voice,” which he self-published through his company, Black Creator Collective.

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