SOUVENIR OF SELMA | PAUL SCOTT | New American Scenery | MLK | Notes from director, Leslie Ferrin

“Let us march on ballot boxes until the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs will be transformed into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens.”
Martin Luther King, March 25, 1965, Montgomery, Alabama

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, we are sharing Paul Scott‘s “Souvenir of Selma” currently on view at RISD Museum in Providence, RI. The piece is featured in New American Scenery, presented in the newly renovated porcelain room as one of the solo exhibitions in the museum-wide exhibition, “Raid the Icebox Now”.

The central image on the plate was taken on 7 March 2018, when Paul took part in a commemorative march in Selma, Alabama. The annual event commemorates 1965’s ‘Bloody Sunday’ when a group of 525 unarmed civil rights protesters met to promote black voter registration and to protest the killing of Jimmie Lee Jackson by a state trooper during a February voter registration march in a nearby city. As the group, including children, marched peacefully across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were met with unprovoked brutality as State Troopers, Sheriff’s deputies and a horse-mounted posse attacked, gassed and beat them. Media coverage of the event shocked the world and ultimately led to the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Paul’s plate is a bittersweet ‘souvenir’, though. While the front images act to commemorate the ultimately positive outcomes of the original march, he qualifies it, using a quote by acclaimed photo-journalist Chris Arnade, who asserts that although undoubtedly a symbol of past civil rights victories, Selma’s current state also demonstrates ongoing civil rights failures.

Looking deeper on this day that honors King’s legacy, his speech from over 50 years ago reminds us of what issues remain and the importance of the ballot in this election year.

“Yes, we are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. (Yes, sir) We are on the move now. The burning of our churches will not deter us. (Yes, sir) The bombing of our homes will not dissuade us. (Yes, sir) We are on the move now. (Yes, sir) The beating and killing of our clergymen and young people will not divert us. We are on the move now. (Yes, sir) The wanton release of their known murderers would not discourage us. We are on the move now. (Yes, sir) Like an idea whose time has come, (Yes, sir) not even the marching of mighty armies can halt us. (Yes, sir) We are moving to the land of freedom. (Yes, sir) … Let us march on ballot boxes, (Let’s march) march on ballot boxes until race-baiters disappear from the political arena.

Let us march on ballot boxes until the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs (Yes, sir) will be transformed into the calculated good deeds of orderly citizens. (Speak, Doctor)

Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march) until the Wallaces of our nation tremble away in silence.

Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march) until we send to our city councils (Yes, sir), state legislatures, (Yes, sir) and the United States Congress, (Yes, sir) men who will not fear to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with thy God.

Let us march on ballot boxes (Let us march. March) until brotherhood becomes more than a meaningless word in an opening prayer, but the order of the day on every legislative agenda.

Let us march on ballot boxes (Yes) until all over Alabama God’s children will be able to walk the earth in decency and honor.”


Click HERE  to hear Martin Luther King’s speech in Montgomery, March 25, 1965.

Scott’s Cumbrian Blue(s), New American Scenery, Souvenir of Selma, AL. In-glaze screen print (decal) on salvaged Syracuse China with pearlware glaze, 30cm dia. Paul Scott 2019.



PAUL SCOTT: New American Scenery


New American Scenery  juxtaposes early 19th-century Staffordshire ceramic transferwares drawn from the shelves of the RISD Museum storage with new artworks by Paul Scott, Cumbrian Blue(s). Replacing the porcelain works typically on view in the newly renovated Lucy Truman Aldrich gallery, New American Scenery melds historic printed tablewares, altered antique ceramics, and reclaimed Syracuse China plates with new screenprints updating early transferware subjects for the 21st century.

New American Scenery is first presented in Raid The Icebox Now at RISD Museum, Providence RI from September 13, 2019- September 6, 2020.

New American Scenery will be presented in an expanded exhibition at Albany Institute of Art & History, Albany, NY from September 16, 2020- January 3, 2021.

RISD Museum, Providence, RI
in Raid The Icebox Now
on view through September 6, 2020.

Click HERE for more.

ClickHERE to inquire.


Photographs of Artwork by John Polak; Interior photography by Erik Gould




Paul Scott is an English artist who lives and works in Cumbria, UK. He appropriates traditional blue and white transferwares to make contemporary artwork for 21st-century audiences. At the same time, he commemorates and celebrates a rich, complex historical genre that is inextricably linked to wider visual and political cultures. Alturas Foundation supported the creation of New American Scenery as part of its Artist In Residence program. Other funders included Arts Council EnglandFerrin Contemporary and RISD Museum.