Exhibition: What Became of Dr. Smith

April 25 to September 22, 2024

MS Museum of Art

380 South Lamar Street
Jackson, MS 39201

Noah Saterstrom What Became of Dr Smith painting

Exhibition: What Became of Dr. Smith

MS Museum of Art

380 South Lamar Street
Jackson, MS 39201

Overview

What Became of Dr. Smith, is a large-scale, panoramic narrative painting by contemporary artist Noah Saterstrom. The exhibition delves into the life of Saterstrom’s great-grandfather, a traveling optometrist whose struggle with and treatment for mental illness led to his erasure from family history. The exhibition is curated by Megan Hines, Ph.D.

In 2017, Saterstrom embarked on a years-long search in state, local, and private archives for information about Dr. D.L. Smith. The artist eventually discovered that his great-grandfather spent the final four decades of his life at the Mississippi State Insane Hospital, also known as the Old Asylum, in Jackson, Mississippi, and later in nearby Whitfield. What Became of Dr. Smith expands on Saterstrom’s recent exploration of his Mississippi ancestry and suppressed Southern histories.

The exhibition comprises three sections: Saterstrom’s monumental painting composed of 183 canvases spanning 122 feet; historical artifacts from Dr. Smith’s life, including letters, newspaper clippings, and photographs; and an area dedicated to The Asylum Hill Project, a research consortium committed to uncovering the history of the Old Asylum and memorializing the approximately 7,000 individuals whose remains were recently discovered there. In addition to the exhibition, MMA proudly announces its partnership with the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) in Jackson. This collaboration builds on existing art therapy programs at UMMC and MMA to illuminate art’s transformative power to address mental health issues and intergenerational trauma.

Related