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Nicholas J. Bridger

Yoruba wood sculptor, was born in 1910 in Osi-Ilorin, now in Kwara State, Nigeria. He was the son of Areogun of Osi-Ilorin (c. 1880–1954), a significant master woodcarver of the premodern tradition of the northeast area of Yorubaland. He acquired the name George when baptized Catholic as a child, although his father remained a practitioner of the local Yoruba religion. His name is referred to in recent sources as George Bamidele Arowoogun, the patronymic added as a surname. His close collaborator and patron for four decades, Father Kevin Carroll (1920–1993), always referred to him simply as “Bandele.”

Growing up in a successful carver s household Bandele became apprenticed in his teens to one of his father s former assistants Oshamuko also from Osi Ilorin one of a group of villages called collectively Opin which was within the Ekiti region Both his familial ancestry and his artistic lineage ...

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Amy Helene Kirschke

painter, printmaker, and collage artist. Romare Howard Bearden was born in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 12 September 1911, to Richard Howard and Bessye Bearden. Although he only spent two years in North Carolina, his grandparents conveyed a sense of history and connection to the South, a connection that was reflected in his work throughout his career. Most of his childhood and adult life were spent in New York. He moved to New York in 1914, and then to Harlem in 1920. His mother, Bessye, was elected to the New York City school board in 1922 education was of paramount importance in his family Bearden had an expansive diverse career and is considered one of the finest American artists of the twentieth century He had an interest in political social and cultural issues including the visual arts music and literature He was particularly ...

Article

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 ...

Article

Jennifer Anne Hart

Ghanaian painter and sculptor, was born in Anyako in the Volta region of what was then the Gold Coast and is now Ghana. He was the son of a weaver, and is a member of the Ewe ethnic group.

Anatsui began professional art training at the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana (1965–1969). During this four-year training period, which emphasized Western art techniques, Anatsui specialized in sculpture with particular focus on life and figure studies. During the early years of his career and training, however, Anatsui was influenced by the work of Oku Ampofo, Vincent Akwete Kofi, and Kofi Antubam, who began to reject the foreign influences in their artistic training and pay increasing attention to indigenous art forms. This artistic movement was encapsulated in the Ghanaian concept of sankofa. Responding to colonial efforts to denigrate African culture, sankofa encouraged the careful selection and inclusion of ...

Article

Nicholas J. Bridger

Yoruba wood sculptor, was born in 1924 in Ila-Orangun, now in Osun State, Nigeria. He was the fifth-generation son of a noted traditional wood carver, Akobi Ogun Fakeye. The elder Fakeye had also worked as a babalawo, a traditional Ifa diviner-priest. He acquired the name Lamidi, an abbreviated form of Abdul Hameed, when he converted to Islam as a teenager. Tellingly, his given name, Olonade, translates as “the carver has arrived.” His specific birth year is given by Father Kevin Carroll as “about 1925,” although his immediate family preferred the year 1924.

By 1945 both his parents had died leaving him without direct parental support although they had secured his early education in the local colonial schools he later completed high school on his own Not having had a carving apprenticeship as a youth Lamidi was later forced to teach himself the rudiments of wood sculpture ...

Article

Lisa Aronson and Martha Anderson

professional photographer, was born in Bonny, Nigeria, in 1873 the son of a successful Ibani Ijo palm oil trader named Chief Sunju Dublin Green who worked closely with expatriate traders and missionaries These relationships may have greatly benefited his son s career The imported obelisk style tombstone that marks Green s grave in his hometown of Bonny identifies him as a professional artist photographer His only known self portrait shows him at the age of twenty one dressed in a respectable Western style suit vest and necktie with a boutonniere in his lapel Green attended the Church Missionary Society CMS High School in Bonny and it may have been Sierra Leonians affiliated with the CMS who taught him photography He served as the primary photographer for the British as well as his own people between the early 1890s and his untimely death at the age of thirty two Although ...

Article

Cheryl A. Alston

artist and activist, was born in Detroit, Michigan, the third of ten children of Betty Solomon Guyton and George Guyton, a construction worker. His mother reared the children on her own after George Guyton left the-family, when Tyree Guyton was nine years old. Guyton grew up on the east side of Detroit in an area called “Black Bottom,” one of the oldest African American communities in the city. He attended Northern High School, but he did not graduate and earned his GED at a later date.

Guyton began painting at the age of eight when his grandfather, Sam Mackey a housepainter at the time who later became a painter of fine art gave him the tool to create a paintbrush Because of his family s poverty Guyton felt all he had was his art He felt like he had no freedom and he realized early on that ...

Article

Throughout his career, Wilfredo Lam was active in major art movements, including surrealism and modernism, and was associated with many of the best-known figures in the art world of his day, including Pablo Picasso and André Breton. Lam's surrealist compositions make use of his Afro-Chinese and Cuban ancestry, and his most famous paintings, including The Eternal Presence (1945) and The Jungle (1943), present his mythic, erotic, and syncretic inheritances in a supernatural and symbolic way. Lam's style is easily recognizable for its mysterious, spiritual dimension, which proceeds from his debt to African religious traditions in the Caribbean, as exemplified by Altar for Eleggua (1944 His style is also known for the abstract eroticized and fetishistic representations of body parts and African masks that melt into and surge out of jungle like landscapes of camouflage in the tropics He was a distinguished talent of ...

Article

Ann Wilde

one of the great modern painters of the twentieth century. Jacob Lawrence experienced early success as an artist, and for more than sixty years he sustained an aesthetic vision of the past, providing a visual commentary on the social position of African Americans and the power of the community in mobilizing political change. Lawrence blended the figurative with a unique element of the abstract to create images that are familiar, yet also distinctly modern.

The first son of Jacob Lawrence, a railroad cook from South Carolina, and Rosa Lee Armstead Lawrence, a domestic servant, Jacob Armstead Lawrence was born on 7 September 1917 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. In 1919 the Lawrence family moved to Easton, Pennsylvania, where Lawrence senior looked for work as a coal miner. When Lawrence was seven, his father left the family and settled in Harlem; his mother moved with her three children—Jacob ...

Article

Antônio Francisco Lisboa, better known by his nickname “Aleijadinho” (the Little Cripple), was born in Villa Rica do Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil, where he later distinguished himself as an artist during the baroque and rococo artistic periods. The Minas Gerais variant of the baroque and rococo styles is distinct; unlike the coastal states of Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, whose frequent contact with Portugal kept the art and architecture of those provinces in tune with European artistic developments, Minas Gerias's location in the interior largely insulated it from European influences. Minas Gerais was also a more recently settled province, and it had few convents or monasteries of the regular orders, which would have otherwise encouraged the duplication of European architectural designs.

During the colonial era in Latin America the church was the center of social life and the principal patron of the arts Virtually all of Aleijadinho ...

Article

Makeba G. Dixon-Hill

painter and poet, was an enslaved servant for the Reverend John Moorhead, a Presbyterian minister, and his wife, Sarah Moorhead, in Boston, Massachusetts. Limited information is available about Scipio Moorhead's place of birth or parents, but historically a large majority of the slaves in Massachusetts came from the West Indies or the Western coast of Africa.

As slavery in the United States became inextricably linked to the nation s economy society government and identity race assumed a larger role in becoming a determining factor regarding occupational opportunities In terms of the fine arts race determined who could be trained There were few schools in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries where blacks could receive specialized training or venues that would exhibit their work The alternatives for many artists were at the hands of fellow slaves freed blacks working as artisans or through their owners families who provided knowledge ...

Article

Eunice Angelica Whitmal

daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, and devoted Christian, was the primary subject of the famed African American photographer Gordon Parks Sr. In Parks's famous photograph American Gothic, a scathing reinterpretation of Grant Woods's classic painting of that name, Ella Watson, holding a mop and broom, stands in front of an American flag hanging on a wall in a government office. The photograph is a searing representation of the discrimination and segregation that many African Americans encountered regardless of their gender or class position.Behind Watson's famous image was a woman with a challenging, albeit obscure, life story. Parks recalled several details Watson shared with him during an informal interview:

She began to spill out her life s story It was a pitiful one She had struggled alone after her mother had died and her father had been killed by a lynch mob She had gone through high school married ...