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Meridian Museum of Art Opens Gary Chapman's Exhibition In Honor of Late Daughter, Sadie

March 24th, 2024

Gary Chapman, Electra. Alabama Power Corporate Collection. Courtesy the artist.

Gary Chapman (MFA Painting 1986) opened a new exhibition at the Meridian Museum of Art featuring paintings honoring his late daughter, Sadie, an organ donor. The opening of The Sadie Paintings coincided with the Allie Cat Run and Festival and National Donate Life Month in April and featured an outdoor installation of signs honoring other organ donors from the area of all ages.

Sadie was born with a serious heart defect called Left Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. After multiple childhood surgeries, heart failure and heart transplant at 19, Sadie’s heart failed again and she passed on March 23, 2023. The Sadie Paintings opened on the one-year anniversary of her passing.

Chapman says the paintings of his daughter, “Although it is deeply important to me personally that Sadie is the model, and the narrative of the work deals with Sadie, I also hope that in those paintings it really is more universal about children and young girls in particular. So, most of my work is conceptually driven. In an attempt to be personal but also universal.

In all of the Sadie paintings, there is a salamander, the most complex living thing that regenerates its own organs, so scientists are studying this. Many animals had the ability to regenerate but that was lost through the evolutionary process.

If scientists could figure out how to unlock that, it would be the ideal thing for those people who need organs because there would be no rejection.”

In addition to his personal practice has an artwork restoration business, GC Art Restore. Chapman has taught in the Department of Art and Art History at University of Alabama for several decades. He was named a Joan Mitchelle CALL Legacy Artist in 2013 and received many other grants and fellowships including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Painting from the Southern Arts Federation (1996), and Individual Artist Fellowships from the Alabama State Council on the Arts (1994, 2002).


Learn more:

Remembering Sadie: Alabama artist’s daughter lives on in paintings – Alabama News Center

Chapman collection on display at art museum – Meridian Star

Painting at Cranbrook Academy of Art