Photographer/author Michael J. Bracey will share new photos in his exhibit, “It’s All About the Hats,” which will be on display through March 30 at Oak Park Public Library, 834 Lake Street. As a tribute to Bracey’s mother, Letha Reed-Bracey and her extensive collection of hats, this exhibit is a perfect way to celebrate Women’s History Month. A reception and hat modeling event will take place on Sunday, March 4 from 2 to 4 pm in the library’s Art Gallery.
By the time of her death at age 92, Letha Reed-Bracey had at least 120 hats in her collection. “When our mother wore a hat, her habit was to cock it on the right side of her head, adding a certain swagger to her style. This chic-ness was evident through all the stages of her life,” notes Michael Bracey. Bracey has photographed the 85 hats he inherited from his mother on his “models” who are also his four sisters, other family members, and friends.
Michael Bracey recently published a book titled Africans within the Americas: An Enlightening Visual Voyage. From 1998 through 2008, Bracey set out with his camera to meet and know other people of African descent who may look like him, but speak a different language and live on different terrain. His book is a compilation of photographs from these travels.
Michael Bracey is an independent photographer currently living on the west side of Chicago. His work has been published and exhibited widely. Bracey has garnered numerous grants and awards, including a grant from the Community Arts Assistance Program, an Illinois Arts Council fellowship and the John H. White Award for Portfolio of the Year.
Bracey works full time in the educational system of the State of Illinois. With an MA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Columbia College Chicago, Michael is past president of the Chicago Alliance of African-American Photographers (CAAAP). He is among the contributors to CAAAP’s 2006 book, The Journey: The Next 100 Years (published in association with Roosevelt University, the Chicago Historical Society, and the Chicago Tribune.) Bracey also contributed photographs to Urban Waters.
Oak Park Public Library’s Art Gallery features a local artist or group of artists each month. The gallery is open seven days a week during regular library hours. For information on upcoming exhibits visit http://oppl.org/about/library-information/art-library/art-gallery .
Each of Oak Park Public Library’s locations has unique and beautiful art in permanent collections, and quotes from literary and local figures throughout the buildings. Find more information about the library’s permanent art collection at http://oppl.org/about/library-information/art-library/main-library .