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Carmen Oquendo-Villar

José Bedia was born in Havana, Cuba, where he pursued his formal artistic education at the Academia de Artes Plásticas San Alejandro and at the Instituto Superior de Arte. He left Cuba in 1991 and spent a brief time in Mexico before establishing himself in Miami in 1993. Bedia's work—drawings on paper; oil paintings on canvas; works in ink, acrylic, charcoal, oil crayons; and installations—derives most of its power from Cuba's African heritage, sometimes bringing to mind Kongo cosmograms (geometric designs which carry religious meanings) and Abakuá (Afro-Cuban all-male secret societies) ideographic writing. Texts in Spanish, Yoruba, or Bantu languages accompany many of his pieces. Despite the deep presence of African art Bedia's work, Cuban critic Gerardo Mosquera has labeled it postmodern Kongo art because it does not pretend to be a reenactment of original African art.

Bedia s adherence to local attitudes does not prevent him ...

Article

Katherine Smith

was born on 18 June 1968 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, to Jeanne Constant and Jean Alfred Sanon. Constant was raised by her mother, a seamstress who worked in a factory that made wedding dresses and beaded appliqué. From a young age, Constant helped her mother with small beaded piecework that she would bring home from work. When she was 14, she began working in the same factory with her mother. She quit this job six years later, shortly before the factory closed, over a wage dispute with management. Constant married Wilfred Charles. Together, they had five children.

After Constant left her job at the factory an artist friend encouraged her to try painting as a vocation She was inspired to try painting with bead as she describes her textile work Constant began sketching Catholic saints on canvas and then beading the images These images of saints are commonly recognized to also ...

Article

Born in Houston, Texas, Melvin Edwards studied painting at the University of Southern California (USC), and began sculpting in 1960. Five years later he received his B.F.A. degree from USC. Edwards first gained critical attention with a series of sculptures entitled Lynch Fragments, which he had begun in 1963. By 1997 the series included more than 150 individual works made from both forged and welded parts of knife sheaths, automotive gears, chains, ball bearings, horseshoes, and other metal. The works, each of which is about the size of a human head and hangs on a wall, explore themes of violence and incorporate both American and African symbolism.

In 1967 Edwards moved from California to New Jersey, and his work began to shift away from the manipulated, unpainted metal. A solo exhibition at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1968 included geometric shapes painted ...

Article

Anne Hudson Jones

“If Jimmy Carter wants to see me, he knows where I am. He can come here.” This reply to President Carter’s invitation that she come to Washington for the opening of an exhibition of her work is vintage Clementine Hunter. Her disregard for fame and the famous was part of her special charm and did not change, even after she became known worldwide for her colorful folk paintings of black life in the Cane River region of northern Louisiana.

Hunter was born on Hidden Hill Plantation, near Cloutierville, Louisiana. Her mother, Mary Antoinette Adams, was the daughter of a slave who was brought to Louisiana from Virginia. Her father, John Reuben had an Irish father and a Native American mother Hunter considered herself a Creole When she was a teenager she moved with her family from Hidden Hill to Yucca Plantation which was renamed Melrose seventeen miles ...

Article

Clementine Clemence Rubin Hunter was born on a cotton plantation in Clourtierville, Louisiana, to Mary Antoinette Adams, a woman of Virginia slave ancestry, and Janvier (John) Reuben, a man of Native American and Irish descent. She moved with her family from Hidden Hill to Melrose Plantation (formerly Yucca), near Natchitoches, Louisiana, while she was in her early teens. She remained at Melrose, first as a cotton picker, then as the plantation cook until 1970.

Hunter had two children with Charles Dupree, Joseph and Cora. Dupree died in 1914, and Hunter married Emanuel Hunter in 1924. She bore five more children: Mary, Agnes, King, and two who died at birth. A widow by 1944, Clementine Hunter died at the age of 101 a few miles from Melrose, having outlived all of her children.

Hunter became a celebrated folk artist for her paintings of ...

Article

Born in Lafayette, Alabama, Sister Gertrude Morgan became an evangelist and moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1939. She took the title “Sister” in the 1950s when, with two other street missionaries, she founded a church and an orphanage.

Morgan began painting in 1956, concentrating primarily on religious visions and biblical scenes. She believed that she was mystically married to Jesus Christ which she symbolized by dressing entirely in white Her paintings frequently depicted her with Jesus as bride and groom often with herself in black before and in white after the marriage As a street preacher Morgan eschewed the formal art world preferring to make folk art with any material at hand including Styrofoam cardboard lamp shades and jelly jars Her work frequently includes calligraphy which communicates a spiritual message or a biblical verse All her inspiration she felt came from God saying He moves ...

Article

was born in Salvador, Bahia, on 2 December 1917. He was the son of Arsenio Santos, a tailor, and Maria Bibiana do Espirito Santo, an ialorixá (mother-of-saint in Candomblé) known as Mãe Senhora, and descended from the Asipa family, originally from Oyo and Ketu, in the West African Yoruba kingdom.

A respected religious leader, Master Didi achieved the following titles and positions in Salvador’s religious communities: “Kori Kowê Olukotun,” priest in Egun ancestor worship at the Ilê Olukotun Tuntun in 1925; “Oje Korikowê Olukotun,” priest in ancestor worship at the Ilê Agboulá in 1934; “Assogbá,” high priest of the cult of Obaluaê; “Baba l’Osanyin,” priest of the cult of Ossãe at the Ilê Axé Opo Afonjá in 1936; and “Alapini,” the highest level in the hierarchy of priests in Egun ancestor worship at the Ilê Axé Opo Afonjá in 1975. In 1980 in Salvador ...

Article

Charles Rosenberg

who attracted considerable attention from collectors starting in the 1980s, after a lifetime of agricultural and domestic labor, may have been born in Brookhaven, Mississippi, but spent most of her life in nearby Martinsville and Hazlehurst. All three communities are along Highway 51 as it runs through Lincoln and Copiah counties. As with many people who live most of their life in obscurity, her family tree has not been thoroughly documented.

Tillman is a common name in Copiah County, both among people designated by law and culture as “black” and those who choose to think of themselves as “white.” Based on interviews by art curator and collector William Arnett between 1986 and 1995 with Smith a sister and her only son she was the third of thirteen children All children contributed to the family economy by raising cabbage tomatoes and beans initially sharecropping but eventually buying their own land ...

Article

Kim Miller

Nigerian visual artist, was born Taiwo Olaniyi in Iyara, Nigeria, in 1944 His father was from Ibadan and his mother was from Ogidi the town in which Seven Seven was raised Twins Seven Seven s mother was a successful trader who took him as a child with her to visit markets in local and distant towns She was also head of the Imole society and held an important title in the Ogboni society a Yoruba society of respected elders who hold social and political power Seven Seven s father passed away when he was seven years old As an adult Seven Seven learned that his father s lineage came from a royal house in Ibadan and since then he has claimed the title of Prince Twins Seven Seven earned his unique name because he was the only surviving child of seven pairs of twins Seven Seven attended primary and ...