If you were alive in the ‘70s and if you were drawn into the wave of protest for change taking place then, you remember the often-heard admonition from then Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver: “There is no more neutrality in the world. You either have to be part of the solution, or you’re going to be part of the problem.” Those words and others’ call to action compelled a generation to get off the sidelines and get involved in bringing about social and political change. Their youth, energy and feelings of restlessness suffused poetry, performance art, music, film and so much else with a vision of, and demand for, equality, justice, peace.
Dona Ann McAdams’ black-andwhite photographs at the Catamount Arts Center depict four decades of this movement. As an activist, she was already on the street protesting the war in Vietnam, advocating for women’s rights, for the LGBTQ community, for those suffering from mental illness — but it was the Leica camera, loaded with super-fast Tri-X film, always in her hands that empowered her voice, her message and her art. She realized early in her career that street photography was more than capturing a moment, it was her narrative.