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The Eric Carle Museum
of Picture Book Art
  • 125 West Bay Road
  • Amherst, MA 01002


  • Thursday, Friday 10 am - 4 pm
  • Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
  • Sunday 12 pm - 5 pm

Closed Monday,Tuesday, Wednesday

Accessibility Information

Visit the carle


Past Exhibitions

Jerry Pinkney

IN THE Central Gallery

Jerry Pinkney: Art from The Old African

Jerry Pinkney and Julius Lester’s first collaboration resulted from a shared editor’s suggestion that Pinkney illustrate Lester’s The Tales of Uncle Remus.  Published in 1987 and followed by two sequels, these initial collaborations required Pinkney and Lester to cross paths only occasionally. However, it was their work on John Henry (1994) and Black Cowboy, Wild Horses (1997) that led them to discover a mutual reverence for their African-American heritage and their respect for the story. Sam and the Tigers:  A New Telling of Little Black Sambo (1996), further cemented their partnership through Jerry’s realization that “Julius’s storytelling voice allowed me to create pictures that did not just mimic the text but were inspired by it.”

With The Old African, Pinkney was daunted by a text which was so visually rich and seemed so complete in itself; he wondered what his role should be. He abandoned his usual method of relying on models and instead decided to inhabit the characters created by Lester’s words.  Moved by the strength of the characters’ family ties and yet grounded in the research he did at the New York Public Library’s Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture, Pinkney began to draw. “I don't see things until I draw them. When I put a line down, the only thing I know is how it should feel, and I know when it doesn't feel right. I work with a pencil in one hand and an eraser in the other, not knowing what I have until I put it down.” 

This exhibition is made possible in part by generous support from Penguin Group, Inc.


Jerry Pinkney, Cover illustration for The Old African by Julius Lester [Dial Books]. Collection of the artist. © 2005 Jerry Pinkney.
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