Through the Lens

Hanover College senior
to exhibit photos in February

Hairston’s images will help gallery mark Black History

(February 2017) – For the second year, the Madison (Ind.) Art Club will feature the art of a Hanover College student at its gallery, Art on Main, to commemorate Black History Month.
The photographs of Hanover college senior Malik Hairston of Washington, D.C., will be featured throughout the month at the gallery.
Hairston has photographed several social justice events, and those photos form the majority of his exhibit. He took photos at the Women’s March in Washington held the day after Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, marches for Black Lives Matter and the September 2016 visit of the KKK to Madison.
The poetry of a jail-bound friend will accompany the photos.
“I am a huge supporter of human rights,” said Hairston. “Regardless of whether it is men or women, black or white. I feel the Women’s March was impactful – not just in the states, but overseas. We all feel the moment and the need for positivity.”
Attending social justice events has given Hairston cause for self reflection.
“I try to keep my camera with me at all times when I go to community based events,” Hairston said. “Being there makes me critique my own actions in the past.”
While in high school in Washington, D.C., he was recruited by McDaniel’s College. They look for high achievers and allow them to get early college credits, Hairston said. This eventually led to a scholarship at Hanover College.

Photo by John Sheckler

Malik Hairston is passionate about supporting human rights activities through his photography.

“The art club has a mission to support the arts but also to encourage artists,” said Madison Art Club member Mary Jo O’Connor. “The gallery is interested in reaching out to students at Hanover College. It is the best way to encourage younger people. We want more student participation.”
Hairston’s focus at Hanover College is on graphic design.
“I use the photos to capture a moment,” he said. “I feel as if I am doing my part in a sense.”
Hairston has a theme in mind for the exhibit – “Down but Not Out.”
Hairston got his inspiration from Joshua, a high school friend who is now in prison.
“My concept here is that there is hope within the black community,” said Hairston. “I used his poetry and his name on the exhibit as a way to give him hope.”
The prison poetry is a focus on hope.
“Read his work, and you see he hopes to have a better day,” Hairston said. “Hope is an intangible force. I can commit to his theme of hope.”
One of Hairston’s advisors asked him what his work means to him.
“I can’t help these organizations, financially,” he replied. “Hope or soul is my theme. I walk into a church and all the problems go away. It is because there is a community aspect of church.”
“It was Deb Whistler who suggested getting another Black History Month exhibit from a Hanover Student,” said O’Connor. “We put the exhibit together quickly.”
Hairston’s photos are mostly black and white, a style that is often seen in photos concerning social issues.
After college, Hairston said he hopes to pursue a career in fashion and creative marketing. He is most interested in visual communication.
“I eventually want to harness my skills and develop my own brand,” Hairston said.
It doesn’t seem likely that he will leave his social statement photography behind.
The reception for Hairston’s exhibit will be held from 7-9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, at the Art on Main Gallery, 309 W. Main St. The exhibit will be on display until the end of February.

• For more information, call Art on Main Gallery at (812) 265-2923.

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