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Najjar Abdul-Musawwir, an associate professor in the SIU Carbondale School of Art and Design, spent hours sketching and talking with comedian and social critic Dick Gregory to create a striking biographical portrait that now occupies a place of honor at Carbondale's Varsity Center for the Arts (VCA).
Gregory was honored last fall as the first member of the VCA Hall of Fame for his life achievements and for his role in integrating the Varsity Theater as a college student at SIU in the 1950s. Prior to Gregory's protest, the Varsity's African-American patrons were required to sit in the theater's balcony and were not allowed in main floor seating reserved for white customers.
Abdul-Musawwir, an acclaimed artist whose drawings and paintings are earning him an international following spoke with WSIU's Jak Tichenor in his studio about the challenge of capturing the spirit of the legendary comedian who became famous for his cutting edge humor and stinging social commentary.
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