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New VMFA Exhibit Focuses on African American Beauty

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This new exhibition at VMFA includes beauty in African American culture over 120 years. This new exhibition at VMFA includes beauty in African American culture over 120 years.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) - A new exhibition at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is celebrating black history in a way you've never seen before. Posing Beauty in African American Culture allows you to look through the lens of fashion photographers, studio photographers and about 85 other artists in one place.

"It's a fairly unseen part of photographic history," says Alex Nyerges, VMFA's Director and CEO. "Beauty is one of those commonalities. As we look at how beauty is defined whether it's for men, for women, for young or for old, it's a very interested subject, and this helps to bring it out as part of that visual conversation."

Nyerges explains the exhibition is the work of renowned photo historian Deborah Willis. It's drawing in visitors like graduate students Kimberly Lawrence and Jennifer Sutherland.

Lawrence says it's a breath of fresh air. "I think a lot of times we end up getting a lot of negative stereotypes, and there's negative connotations. And it's nice to finally see something that portrays us in a beautiful way, in a way that's different and unique and not the same story over and over again."

Sutherland knows they'll be able to take away something from her visit. "A different perspective for teaching and all of that to help us educate our students a little bit better."

Posing Beauty in African American Culture includes a video about breaking ground in the pageant world, along with walls and walls of snapshots focusing on family, individuality and more.

"In the end, beautiful is beautiful," says Nyerges as he points out some of his favorite images.

Posing Beauty in African American Culture will be at the VMFA through July 27.

Also, mark your calendars for Saturday, June 21. The exhibition will be free as part of the museum's Family Day celebration.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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