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Pamela Lee Gray

wood carver, sculptor, and folk artist, was born Jesse James Aaron in Lake City, Florida, to descendants of slaves and Seminole Indians. Aaron attended school for less than one year before he was sent to work as a contract laborer for local farms. Trained as a baker when he was twenty-one years old, he found he enjoyed the creativity it required. He opened several bakeries, worked as a cook at Gainesville's Hotel Thomas from 1933 to 1937, and then cooked for a variety of fraternities and hospitals in Florida. Aaron also worked as a cook aboard the Seaboard Air Line Railroad during this time.

Aaron married Leeanna Jenkins, and when the family settled in northwest Gainesville in the 1930s they opened a nursery. From this point until 1968 when Aaron became a folk artist at the age of eighty one it is difficult to determine what is ...

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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 ...

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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 ...

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Thomas R. Wolejko

slave, sharecropper, and artist, was born in Benton, Alabama, on the plantation of George Hartwell Traylor, from whom Bill acquired his surname. His parents' names and occupations are not known, but they were likely slaves on the Traylor plantation. Although Traylor recalled 1854 as his date of birth (he could not read or write), the 1900 U.S. Census for Lowndes County recorded his actual birth date as two years later.

After the Civil War, nine-year-old Bill continued to live and work on the Traylor plantation, eventually becoming a sharecropper. George Hartwell Traylor died in 1881, leaving the plantation to his son, Marion. On 13 August 1891 Bill married a woman named Lorisa (some sources refer to her as Laura). At the time of the 1900 U.S. Census, Traylor had fathered nine children: Pauline (1884), George (1885), Sallie (1887 ...

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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 ...