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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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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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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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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 ...

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Nigerian artist and sculptor, was born a twin on 14 July 1921 in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. He was born into the noble family of Umueze-Aroli in Onitsha, to Omenka Odigwe Emeka Enwonu, a technician and a sculptor who worked for the Royal Nigeria Company. His mother was Ilom, a successful cloth trader.

Enwonwu was educated at primary schools in Onitsha, Umuahia, and Port-Harcourt from 1926 to 1931, and received a secondary education at St. Patrick’s School, Ibusa, and Government College Ibadan. At Ibadan in 1934, he met Kenneth Murray, the education officer responsible for art education in the colonial civil service. He then left with Murray for Government College, Umuahia, where he studied for five years. Enwonwu’s work was introduced to the international art world in 1937 when Murray exhibited the work of his students at the Zwemmer Gallery in London As a result of that ...

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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 ...

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Christopher Tiné

Tapfuma Gutsa was born in Salisbury, Rhodesia (now Harare, Zimbabwe). He is one of the best known members of a “second generation” of Zimbabwean stone sculptors. Like members of the “first generation”—sculptors who got their start at the Rhodes National Gallery in the 1960s—Gutsa often draws on themes from Shona culture. Formally, his pieces reflect his Western art training and the influences of Picasso, Brancusi, and Matisse.

The son of a construction company owner, Gutsa grew up in the capital of colonial Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe). He attended the Driefonten Mission School in order to study with a noted sculptor there, Cornelius Manguma. After completing school, Gutsa received the British Council’s first grant to Zimbabwe. He used the funds to study at the London School of Art (1982–1985 where he received his diploma in sculpture In Europe Gutsa s exposure to Western art traditions pushed him to search ...

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Joseph C. E. Adande

Beninese artist, was born in the Republic of Benin, formerly Dahomey. Hazoumé was the name of his great-grandfather. As of 2011, Romuald Hazoumé lived in Cotonou but also had a workshop in Porto Novo. In the early twenty-first century he stands as one of the key figures of contemporary art in West Africa, not to mention in Africa as a whole. He has exhibited on all of the continents, and his work is included in the Pigozzi Collection of Contemporary African Art in Geneva, Switzerland. His La Bouche du Roi, in which he gives a contemporary interpretation of a 1789 image of a slave ship, has been purchased by the British Museum. Hazoumé has been awarded two important distinctions: the George Maciunas Prize, in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1996, and the Arnold Bode Prize in 2007 by the 12th Documenta in Kassel Germany He is a multi ...

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Kane Kwei was born in Teshi, a town in southeastern Ghana, and worked much of his career there. Teshi, which is located about ten kilometers (6 miles) east of the capital Accra, lies in a coastal trading region of Ga-speaking peoples, who have ties to the Dangme, Akan, and Asante There are different versions of the origin of the coffin art tradition but one relates that Kwei s mentor Ata Owoo created the first fantasy coffin in the early 1950s when a cocoa pod shaped palanquin created for a local tribal chief was used as his coffin Encouraged to pursue the new art form by Owoo Kwei began sculpting wooden burial vessels that reflected the occupation of the deceased an eagle coffin for a chief a boat coffin for a fisher a cocoa pod or onion shaped coffin for a farmer or a hen ...

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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 ...

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Efraim Barak

Egyptian sculptor regarded as the national sculptor of Egypt, was born on 10 May 1891 in the village of al-Tanbara in the al-Gharbiyya district of the Nile delta. His father, Ibrahim al-ʿIsawi, was the village mayor (ʿumda). His mother, Nabawiyya al-Badrawi, was forced to leave her husband's home and return with her son to her birthplace in the village of Nisha near the city al-Mansura due to the hostile relationship toward her by her husband's sons from his first marriage. At Nisha, Mukhtar began his elementary school studies at the age of eight. In 1902 he relocated with his mother to Cairo, where he completed his primary education.

In May 1908, Mukhtar began studies at the newly opened Cairo School of Fine Arts (Madrasat al-Funnun al-Jamila). There he studied until 1911 under the tutelage of the French sculptor Guillaume Laplagne Upon the conclusion ...

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Christopher Tiné

Nicholas Mukomberanwa was one of Africa’s most internationally successful sculptors. He grew up in the countryside outside Harare (formerly known as Salisbury) and attended the Serima Mission School, where he was encouraged to experiment with woodcarving. During his school years, he also became familiar with representations of Christian and African religion. In 1965, while working as a police officer, Mukomberanwa began studying at Salisbury’s Rhodes National Gallery. The new director, critic, and curator Frank McEwan had just established a workshop at the gallery to encourage local artists to pursue their talents. The workshop supplied artists with materials and some instruction and exposed the artists to some Western European art, particularly the work of the modernists.

While some of Mukomberanwa s sculpture can be likened to the work of European artists like Picasso and Brancusi Mukomberanwa s work draws directly on his Shona cultural heritage Observers of Shona sculptors like ...

Article

Henry Munyaradzi of Zimbabwe, a country famous for ancient stone monuments and carvings, created stone sculptures that have been exhibited in North America, Europe, Australia, and Africa.

Born in Guruve, Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe), Munyaradzi received little formal education as a child and worked primarily as a farm hand in his natal village. In 1968 the international community stopped doing business with Rhodesia to protest the policies of the country’s white minority government. Munyaradzi, then thirty-seven, was one of the many workers laid off by hard-hit tobacco farms. With free time on his hands, Munyaradzi was drawn to an artist’s community known as Tengenenge, set up in 1966 by a white tobacco farmer. Although most of its members, like Munyaradzi, had little or no formal artistic training, they later achieved significant international attention.

Munyaradzi was immediately drawn to sculpting Hard stones such as serpentine and granite as well as carving tools ...

Article

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

Christopher Tiné

Johannes Segogela was born and educated in Sekhukhuneland, located in South Africa’s Northern Transvaal region. As a young man, he worked as a boilermaker, and sculpted small wooden figures in his spare time. In 1985 an exhibition of work by little-known contemporary South African artists was organized in Johannesburg, South Africa, and included several of Segogela’s figures. The show, called Tributaries, helped launch the careers of several participants, Segogela among them.

Segogela’s early pieces featured small figures or groups of figures, carved from indigenous wood and decorated with bright enamel paint. Some, such as Samson and the Lion (1986), depicted biblical themes, while others portrayed scenes from contemporary urban life. Because these works, which include many elements, are meant to be rearranged, they are never fixed to a base.

Segogela s more recent pieces are highly stylized and somewhat satirical Biblical lessons remain a common theme ...

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 ...

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Joanna Grabski

Senegalese artist, educator, and administrator, was born in Dakar, Senegal, on 18 May 1948. Sy became a practicing artist in the 1970s, a period when Senegalese artistic production moved away from its independence-era association with Négritude philosophy and the state patronage of President Léopold Sédar Senghor. Sy attended the National School of Art Education in Dakar, Senegal (1970–1976), as well as the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium (1976–1979), where his studies focused on drawing, painting, and printmaking. With his artistic sensibility forged in a cosmopolitan crucible, Sy’s ideas about art and artists developed with sensitivity to international perspectives. This orientation figured into both his individual artistic practice and his pedagogical approach at the National School of Fine Arts in Dakar, where he taught from 1979 to 1986. During his tenure as Director of the National School of Fine Arts from 1986 to 1996 he ...

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Elisabeth Harney

Senegalese visual artist and teacher, was born in 1931 near Dakar.

In 1947, Tall trained in an early private art studio in Dakar, run by the Frenchman Cosson. He then traveled in 1955 on a government scholarship to Paris to study at the École spéciale d’architecture. In 1959, Léopold Sédar Senghor, the philosopher, poet, and later first president of Senegal, saw some of Tall’s drawings on exhibit in Paris and encouraged him to pursue fine arts. Following this encounter, Senghor promoted the young Tall, supporting his application for a grant to attend the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and to pursue further instruction in Sèvres, where Tall studied painting, serigraphy, tapestry, mosaics, and pedagogy.

Papa Ibra Tall is best known for the key role he played in postindependence Senegal as a teacher in the art school and as director in the national tapestry center Critics would characterize ...