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"Drum Major NOLA" by Keith Duncan

Drum Major NOLA

Created by New Orleans-native Keith Duncan, this mural pays tribute to a grand tradition of marching band pageantry and performance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Dressed in an invented uniform decorated with the fleur-de-lis, the monumental acrobatic drum major additionally symbolizes the vibrant spirit and rich musical traditions synonymous with the city of New Orleans. Set against a highly patterned background, the allegorical figure alludes to Duncan’s continued engagement with the subjects of HBCU marching bands and musicians. The archetypical drum major—a representation of Black excellence— alludes to the collective mission of all HBCUs to promote Black knowledge production and preserve cultural heritage. 


Keith Duncan (b. 1964) was born in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. He received a BFA from Louisiana State University, and an MFA from Hunter College (CUNY) New York, NY. With a multidimensional approach to subject matter and material, Duncan is a visual storyteller whose narrative artworks depict widely relatable imagery that is often specific to New Orleans. The CUE Arts Foundation in New York, NY presented a solo exhibition of his work in 2010, followed by inclusion of all works from the exhibition in Prospect.2 New Orleans, LA, curated by Dan Cameron. In 2017, the solo exhibition Satire and Storytelling was presented at Ohr-O’Keefe Museum of Art in Biloxi, Mississippi. In 2019, Fort Gansevoort gallery in New York, NY presented the solo exhibition Keith Duncan: The Big Easy. In 2021, Fort Gansevoort presented Keith Duncan: Bayou Classic, an online exhibition in conversation with Franklin Sirmans. Duncan was included in Thelma Golden’s Black Romantic exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 2002. Duncan’s work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans, LA, Paul and Lulu Hilliard University Art Museum in Lafayette, LA, Art in General, David Beitzel Gallery, Rush Arts Gallery, Williamsburg Music Center, Brooklyn, NY, Bronx River Arts Center, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Pontiac, MI, Tustin Center, Philadelphia, PA, and the Artist Center & Gallery, Richmond, VA.  Duncan is included in the permanent collections of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA; New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, LA; Pérez Art Museum, Miami, FL; and Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI. His awards include the Camille Cosby Fellowship (1990), The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1997), and the CUE Foundation Grant (2010) among others. Duncan has taught art for over twenty years in New York and New Orleans. Duncan currently resides in New Orleans and is represented by Fort Gansevoort, New York.

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