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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Don West exhibit ‘Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute to Leadership’ on display at Harbor Gallery

Don West with Chancellor Motley and President Gomes at the Harbor Art Gallery

Don West is an established Boston-based photographer. His latest exhibit, “Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute to Leadership,” is on display at the Harbor Art Gallery at the University of Massachusetts Boston through Sept. 27.

The exhibit features minority leaders who helped for every individual in Boston to progress. It is a historical passage through decades of community service that will leave you appreciative for the work of others and inspired for our future.

People of all ages were in attendance of the exhibit’s reception held at the Harbor Art Gallery. Lively discussions and conversations took over from one end to the other as guests mingled with West and each other. This revolution is precisely what West had hoped his exhibit would create.

“Portraits of Purpose: A Tribute to Leadership” is incredibly moving, and one cannot simply admire the aesthetic of these black and white photographs. Each photo is so enthralling that audience members become witnesses to the moments West captures in each portrait.

West discussed how he became involved in this project and why it is important for everyone to play a role in moving toward a prosperous society.

“The genesis of this exhibit was in 1977, when the Museum of African American History commissioned me to have an exhibit,” he said.

“My thought was, being a new photographer and having covered many individuals who make a difference in this city, ‘Why don’t I do an exhibit highlighting the sung and unsung heroes and heroines of our city contributing to the betterment of life?'”

The exhibit is a growing project.

“We started out with 25 images for that show, but its evolved over the years to 107. And it is evolving because there are so many deserving people that we just keep adding and adding as we go along,” said West.

“The other important part is that we wanted the exhibit to stimulate dialogue around social change. … We want people to start thinking about what can I, we, do to make our society a more equitable and fair and just society on all levels of job, education, healthcare, etc. All of these people have been involved in some way with all those issues.”