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Marion Arnold

South African sculptor and multimedia artist, was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her father’s family emigrated from Germany (her paternal grandfather was Jewish). She studied at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, graduating with a bachelor of fine arts degree and the Martienssen Student Prize in 1982 and completing her masters degree in 1988. She taught English and art at schools in Namibia and Cape Town before joining the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, as a part-time lecturer in 1996. She holds a professorship in sculpture and is resident in Cape Town. An intensely private person, Alexander rarely gives interviews or explains her work verbally.

In 1986 Alexander gained attention with a solo exhibition in Johannesburg. It included Butcher Boys (1985–1986 a disquieting depiction of three white life size naturalistic figures seated on a bench These self absorbed beings possessing animal and ...

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Joyce Youmans

a Nigerian sculptor, was born in Buguma, Nigeria, the principal settlement of the Kalabari people in the eastern Niger Delta region. She moved to England as a teenager, where she was raised by her brother-in-law, the anthropologist Robin Horton. From 1979 to 1980 she attended the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. She then returned to England and enrolled at the Central School of Art and Design in London where she earned a bachelor’s degree (with honors) in 1983. While an undergraduate, she received the Amy Sadur Friedlander Prize (1981) and the Saatchi & Saatchi Award (1982). In 1983 Camp was awarded the Princess of Wales Memorial Scholarship and the coveted Henry Moore Bursary at the Royal College of Art in London. She graduated from the Royal College in 1986 with a master’s degree in sculpture.

Camp received additional education in Nigeria where ...

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Juliette Bridgette Milner-Thornton

Zambianartist, illustrator, wildlife conservationist, and author, was born on 23 September 1930 in Lusaka, Northern Rhodesia, present-day Zambia. Ellison's husband, Anthony Ellison (deceased) was director of Zambia State Lottery Board. The couple had no children (Polunin and Curme 1997, p. 93; The Post, 4 November 2004). Ellison spent her childhood with her parents among the Ila people in the Mumbwa and Namwala district. Ellison's childhood in rural Zambia influenced her paintings. She attended school in Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Britain where she trained as an artist in private studios. In 1948 she was one of the founding members of the Art Society in Lusaka, Zambia (Setti 2000, pp. 22–30). From 1960 to 1974 Ellison was head of the graphic art and exhibition section and chief graphic artist in the Northern Rhodesia Information Services; after independence in 1964 the organization was renamed ...

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Kathleen Sheldon

, Mozambican painter and sculptor, was born in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo), Mozambique, to a Portuguese father and an African mother. Her early schooling was in Mozambique and her later training was in Portugal, where she earned a degree in painting and sculpture. In 1953 she returned to Mozambique and taught in a technical school until 1962. She was influenced by Noémia de Sousa’s poetry, was friends with José Craveirinha, Rui Nogar, and other activists, and from an early stage in her career she incorporated social themes into her art. She married the poet Virgílio de Lemos, the father of her children. She traveled to Portugal to study ceramics with a Gulbenkian Foundation fellowship, and because of the increasing intransigence of Portuguese colonialism in the 1960s she chose to remain in exile, moving to Rome where she has resided since then.

She was one of the first Mozambican artists ...

Article

Kim Miller

photographer and activist, was born on 19 July 1972 in Umlazi, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Muholi studied advanced photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg. From 2007–2009 she studied Documentary Media at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Since the end of apartheid, Muholi has commented on the near total lack of visual and textual representation of people from the black lesbian community within South Africa during that country's historic antiapartheid struggle. At that time, the black lesbian community, Muholi included, was physically isolated from the urban centers where LGBT organizations and resources were located.

As an activist, she was a cofounder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), a nonprofit black lesbian advocacy organization based in Johannesburg. She has worked as a photographer and reporter for Behind the Mask an online magazine on lesbian and gay issues in Africa Muholi has received a number ...

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Joyce Youmans

Kenyan ceramist, was born in Nairobi, Kenya, on 5 May 1950, of the Abanyala people, a subgroup of the Abaluyia. She received her early education in Nairobi and New Delhi, India, where her father worked as a journalist in the 1950s. His passion for jazz spurred Odundo’s interest in art from an early age. Multiple prizes won at local poster competitions during high school encouraged her to pursue commercial art.

After graduating from high school in 1968, Odundo worked as a graphic designer for almost three years while taking evening classes in commercial art at the Nairobi Polytechnic. She moved to Cambridge, England, in 1971 to attend the Cambridgeshire College of Art and Technology now Anglia Ruskin University There she took a range of foundation courses including ceramics but graphic design remained her primary focus She soon grew restless however and reconsidered whether she wanted to go ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Ghanaian artist, was born on 13 June 1922 in the Ghanaian town of Wenchi located in the Brong Ahafo Region Her father Emmanuel Victor Asihene was a moderator in the Presbyterian church in her home town Her mother was Dora Asihene In her youth Okoh studied at Presbyterian mission schools She drew attention for both her artistic ability and her excellent play in field hockey Some even dubbed her The Joan of Arc of Ghana Hockey for both her skill and her determination to promote the sport later in life Okoh attended and graduated from Achimota College the first government run university in Ghana At the university she became known for her painting and her collages which she continued to produce through the early twenty first century She then worked as a schoolteacher in and around the eastern Ghanaian town of Kukurantumi and became known to locals as Teacher ...

Article

Kim Marie Vaz

Nigerian textile artist and painter, was born on 23 May 1951 in Ogidi-Ijumu, Kogi State, Nigeria. Known as Nike, she worked in the traditional medium of adire, a textile art form created by the Yoruba women of Nigeria. These skills were considered part of the gender-specific knowledge women needed to perform their domestic responsibilities. The adire technique consists of a resist dye process to produce designs of light and dark blue using indigo. Indigo, a plant-based dye, is made by pounding and fermenting the young leaves of plants belonging to the genus Indigofera. In past times, women would use a chicken feather to paint the patterns on white cotton cloth. Nike perfected the traditional adire (a hand-woven aso-oke Yoruba textile form and has expanded her art to batiks and paintings on canvas and hardboard Her themes are the history traditions and cosmology of the Yoruba people She ...

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Kathleen Sheldon

Mozambican ceramicist and sculptor, was born in rural Cabo Delgado possibly in the 1930s, although her identity documents carry the 1945 birth date. She learned how to make pottery as a child, as pottery and working with clay were crafts that were usually done by women, though they primarily made pots for cooking and storage rather than artistic images. She married and had three children with her first husband. After her husband left her, she joined the liberation struggle, working to end Portuguese colonial rule over Mozambique. There she met her second husband, with whom she had five more children. As a FRELIMO (Frente de Libertação de Moçambique, Front for the Liberation of Mozambique) member she carried weapons and ammunition for the militants. Six of her children died during the war, leaving only the youngest, and her husband left her at independence in 1975 Soon after those events ...

Article

Marion Arnold

South African sculptor and installation and video artist, was born in Cape Town, South Africa, to Bernard and Grace Searle. Of mixed race, with ancestors from Mauritius, Saudi Arabia, England, and Germany, Searle was classified as Coloured under apartheid legislation. She studied at the Peninsula Technikon for a year, then at the Michaelis School of Fine Art, University of Cape Town, gaining her bachelor’s degree in 1987 and her higher diploma in education in 1988. She taught for two years before taking a postgraduate advanced diploma in fine art in 1991. In 1995 she graduated with a master’s degree in fine art (University of Cape Town) for a body of work titled Illusions of Identity—Notions of Nationhood. Searle lectured in sculpture at the University of Stellenbosch, Western Cape (1996–1999), resigning to work as a full-time artist. She lives in Cape Town but travels widely to work.

In ...

Article

Elisabeth Harney

Senegalese artist, painter, and actor, was born in Saint-Louis, Senegal. Originally trained as a stenographer, Seye is self-taught as a visual artist and actor. She participated in the much heralded Premier Festival Mondial des Arts Nègres in Dakar (1966) and, at the bequest of the Senegalese minister of culture, three years later in the First Pan-African Cultural Festival in Algiers, where she won a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) grant to support a training residency in Ivory Coast. Her residency led to a solo exhibition in the Hôtel Ivoire (1972), participation in the widely touring state-sponsored Senegalese Art Today (which opened in Paris at the Grand Palais in 1974), and a place within the festival of arts and culture called “FESTAC” in Lagos in 1977 She has enjoyed a broad ranging patronage from public commissions for the Ethiopian offices of the Organization of African Unity and ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born Constance Stuart in Cornwall, England, on 7 August 1914, the daughter of a Scottish mining engineer and the wife he met while studying in Cornwall. The family emigrated the year Constance was born. Her father went ahead taking up a post as manager of a tin mine at Groenfontein, northern Transvaal; mother and daughter followed when the latter was aged three months. The marriage did not last and in 1920 Stuart-Larrabee moved with her mother to Pretoria, where she was educated at Arcadia School and Pretoria High School for Girls.

Her enthusiasm for photography was first sparked when she received a Kodak Box Brownie for her tenth birthday. She learned to process her own pictures and in 1930 exhibited eight contact prints at the Pretoria Agricultural Society Show. In 1933 she travelled to Europe to study photography She went first to Regent Street ...

Article

Wangari wa Nyatetũ-Waigwa

Ivorian writer, painter, illustrator, and academic, was born in Paris, France, in 1955 to a French mother and an Ivorian father. She grew up in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, and studied literature at the National University of Abidjan, earning a BA in English. She read a great deal of French poetry, including much by the poets of Négritude, whose “political commitment and lyricism” she found compelling. Tadjo acknowledges that these early readings exercised a profound influence on her own writing, and she tries “to retain this element of political commitment,” while not losing sight of the literary dimension. Her own approach lays emphasis on a “sense of responsibility,” thereby placing her among the new African writers who steer away from the culture of victimization and blame.

Discovering that the Négritude writers had been greatly influenced by the Harlem Renaissance she developed an interest in that movement subsequently ...

Article

Osire Glacier

Moroccan painter, was born in the little town of Chtouka, near el-Jadida, to a peasant family in the heart of rural Morocco, at a time when education was still the privilege of high-class children. Nothing indicated that the illiterate Chaʿibia would one day be an internationally renowned artist whose works would grace collections throughout the world.

As a child, she was responsible for looking after the chickens. Whenever she lost a chick, she hid in the haystacks for fear of her mother’s anger. This period marked the blossoming of Chaʿibia’s imagination. She made flower crowns with which she covered her head and body. When she was at the sea, she made sand houses that had doors and windows, even though she had never seen a house before; she lived with her family members in a tent.

During numerous interviews throughout her career she explained that she painted all that the ...

Article

Kim Miller

South African artist, writer, and human rights activist, was born in Lichfield, England, in 1941. Williamson’s family emigrated to South Africa in 1948, just months before the Nationalist Party came into power. Raised in what was then the Western Transvaal, Williamson studied journalism at the University of Natal (Durban). In 1969 she achieved a fine arts degree at the Art Students League of New York. Williamson returned to South Africa in 1969 and received an advanced diploma in fine arts from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in Cape Town in 1984. She became a South African citizen in 1990, once it was clear that apartheid was coming to an end.

As artist Sue Williamson is highly respected for her involvement in human rights organizations associated with the antiapartheid movement and for her efforts to make visible the experiences of people and communities who were marginalized ...