Success Stories

Anthony Lewis

““The past is the past, but our history is our history … I want to tell a story about the people, the movement and what they encountered, because we all have our own journey, our own story, and some of these voices are not heard.””

A true storyteller, Anthony Lewis’ art reflects his own journey and tells the stories of others that have often gone untold.

Years ago, Lewis was an Army veteran, navigating the loss of a job, a back surgery, and a divorce, coupled with other struggles and the pressure to provide. However, he found solace in the therapeutic movement art provided and was able to find passion and purpose through creative expression.

“At that moment I was dealing with anxiety, depression, and thoughts of self-harm,” said Lewis. Art became a form of therapy for me. I went to Michaels and got some charcoal/graphite pencils, and I started drawing and creating to help release some of the stress I was dealing with.”

Fast forward to 2024, and Lewis has his own studio in the Ernest A. Finney, Jr. Cultural Arts Center. He has also now opened an exhibition located in the gallery space at Harbison Theatre on MTC’s Harbison Campus, a campus he once walked as a student.

Lewis identifies as a self-taught artist, noting that most artists don’t choose to pursue a degree, but he found it wildly beneficial.

“I look at it as a positive experience although it didn’t come without its challenges.” I still use the techniques I learned regarding research and formulating my ideas to this day.”

With a little encouragement from his daughters and son, his decision to enroll at MTC allowed him to secure the credits he needed to transfer to USC, where he found the inspiration for his current work.

I took a black and white film photography class there and became intrigued with the past – genealogy, tracing my roots back, and the idea of being able to speak with my great-great grandmom, my great grandpop and others just to converse with them about their life and their struggles.”

Lewis’ interest in filling the holes of his own family history has led him to pursue telling the untold stories of other African Americans. Specifically, he is focusing on the period between 1910 and 1970, when approximately six million African Americans moved from the South to the North and other regions.

Lewis uses vintage photographs of African Americans and their loved ones during this period as inspiration for his art, seeking to give them an identity and tell their untold stories through his own lens.

“The past is the past, but our history is our history … I want to tell a story about the people, the movement and what they encountered, because we all have our own journey, our own story, and some of these voices are not heard.”

Lewis sees himself as a “recorder of stories, a recorder of history,” leaving a legacy for his children, their children, and generations to come. His hope is it’s a legacy without unknowns about the past, their culture, or where they came from.

Lewis’ work will be on display for viewing and purchase through May 2024 in the gallery space at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College.