Shadow to Substance

Sheila Pree Bright

Shadow to Substance

July 27, 2021–February 27, 2022

The exhibition, Shadow to Substance (title taken from Sojourner Truth), is curated by Kimberly Williams, University of Florida Doctoral Candidate in English; Dr. Porchia Moore, University of Florida Assistant Professor, Museum Studies and Dr. Carol McCusker, Harn Curator of Photography. Shadow to Substance creates a chronological arc from the past to the present into the future using historical photographs from the Harn and Smathers Library collections and through the lens of Black photographers working today. It pictures histories of enslavement, Jim Crow Florida, the Great Migration, the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter. But it does so through images that expand ideas around healing, myth, intimacy, joy, resistance and rebirth. The exhibition, and its attending programs, will create a space for visitors to see and identify with uplifting narratives shaped by an invigorated portrait of Black life.

This exhibition is made possible by generous support from Dr. R. James Toussaint and Mrs. Sara Toussaint.

Expand the exhibition description

Special Features & Programs:

Put on your earphones and listen to the Shadow to Substance Spotify playlist curated by Kimberly Williams. Playlist annotations are found in the reading list linked below.

Explore further with the Shadow to Substance Aftercare reading list and resource.

Attend programs to experience and learn more.

For program details, visit

Thursday, August 12, 2021, 6 - 9 pm

Museum Nights: Step into the Lens

Sunday, September 19, 3 pm  

Gallery Talk: Shadow to Substance 

With curators Dr. Porchia Moore (UF Assistant Professor of Museum Studies), Kimberly Williams (UF Graduate Student in English) and Dr. Carol McCusker (Harn Curator of Photography)


Thursday, October 14, 2021, 6 - 9 pm

Museum Nights: Reframing the Lens

Image Credits:

Sheila Pree Bright, "The Rebirth of Us", 2020, archival inkjet print, Courtesy of the artist, Sheila Pree Bright