With drums and dance, a group of local per­formers brought to life a series of paint­ings by artist Joseph Hol­ston doc­u­menting the his­tory of slavery in America.

These paint­ings have a spirit and a soul,” said Jacqui Parker, a Hunt­ington Play­writing Fellow at the Hunt­ington The­atre Com­pany, who wrote and chore­o­graphed the the­atrical per­for­mance, which drew as many as 100 atten­dees to North­eastern University’s Curry Stu­dent Center.

The exhibit, enti­tled “Color in Freedom: Journey Along The Under­ground Rail­road,” will be on dis­play Monday through Sat­urday, 10 am to 7 pm at Gallery 360 in Ell Hall, through August 18.

The cel­e­bra­tion, pre­sented by the University’s Office of Insti­tu­tional Diver­sity and Equity, kicked off the exhibit. Hol­ston, who works from his studio in Takoma Park, Md., is sched­uled to visit North­eastern on Thursday, July 28.

Parker’s per­for­mance, which fea­tured dancers, drum­mers and actors from her Our Place The­atre Project, was first set in Africa, “where we were kings and queens,” then trans­ported the audi­ence across the Middle Pas­sage to America. The story weaved in well-​​known fig­ures in his­tory including Har­riet Tubman, who led slaves to freedom on the Under­ground Rail­road, and Sojourner Truth, an abo­li­tionist and women’s rights activist.

Parker said her inspi­ra­tion for the one-​​night-​​only per­for­mance came from Holston’s col­orful, evoca­tive paint­ings: over­sized can­vases that cap­ture the courage and deter­mi­na­tion of slaves who escaped their bonds and enhance the under­standing of slavery and the instinct for freedom.

I could have gone on and on,” Parker said, describing how she cre­ated a thirty-​​minute per­for­mance. “All his paint­ings moved me and it was very hard to decide what to incorporate.”

Naomi Thompson, the asso­ciate director of the Office of Insti­tu­tional Diver­sity and Equity, praised Parker as an “extra­or­di­narily tal­ented woman and a the­atrical genius” who worked to make Holston’s paint­ings even more accessible.

Her per­for­mance art brings to life some­thing that is very impor­tant to our his­tory and cel­e­brates it,” Thompson explained.  The Office of Insti­tu­tional Diver­sity and Equity extended invi­ta­tions to the Tobin Com­mu­nity Center on Mis­sion Hill, the Boston Police Depart­ment, Dis­cover Rox­bury and Reviving Base­ball in Inner Cities — all local orga­ni­za­tions that drew young Bosto­nians to North­eastern for the event.

We’re really trying to get our youth to campus so they can see they are a part of this com­mu­nity and get them thinking about higher edu­ca­tion — maybe even about coming here to North­eastern,” Thompson said.