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Adinkra  

Oluwatoyin Adepoju

Adinkra are visual forms that first achieved prominence among the Akan linguistic group whose members are now part of Ghana and the Ivory Coast. Its origin is uncertain but evidence suggests that it developed within the former Asante and Gyaman nations. Adinkra often involve designs that integrate striking aesthetic power, evocative mathematical structures, and philosophical conceptions ranging from the ethical to the cosmological, expressed in relation to proverbs and stories. The earliest known use of Adinkra integrates the world of the living, the departed, and the Supreme Being in designs on funeral garments. The designs evoke the understanding which each kra—the eternal essence of the person as understood in Akan thought—takes with it to the beyond, an awareness which also recalls the message the kra carried when it bade goodbye to its creator on leaving for the earth.

The earliest widely known use of Adinkra suggests the closing of ...

Article

Rebecca Martin Nagy

Ethiopian artist, was born in Ankober in Shewa Province, Ethiopia. As a young student Afewerk excelled in mathematics and draftsmanship. Recognizing these talents, the government of Emperor Haile Selassie provided a scholarship in 1947 for Afewerk to study mining engineering in England. Showing great promise as a visual artist, Afewerk soon received the emperor’s permission to transfer to London’s Central School of Arts and Crafts. Subsequently, he attended the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. While studying there, he made several trips to the European continent to see and experience works of art firsthand.

Afewerk’s first solo exhibition of paintings in Addis Ababa, held at Municipality Hall in 1954 was not universally well received In particular an abstract interpretation of the Crucifixion inspired by European modernism now in the National Museum of Ethiopia was the subject of debate and controversy in a city with a centuries old ...

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Baye Yimam

Ethiopian painter, diplomat, customs director, entrepreneur, linguist, university professor, and novelist, was born in Zage, Gojjam province of Ethiopia, on 10 July 1868. His father, Gebre Iyesus Denke, was a priest serving a local church, and his mother, Fenta Tehun Adego Ayechew, was presumably a housewife. In Zage, then a center of learning, Afewerq learned the painting, poetry, church music, and liturgical dancing of the Ethiopian Orthodox Christian tradition.

Afewerq was related to Empress Taytu Betul, wife of Emperor Menilek (1844–1913 on account of which he was brought to the palace to continue what he had started in Zage He was later sent to Italy to further his studies at the Accademia Albertina di Belle Arti in Turin Upon his return from Italy he began to produce mural paintings by order of the palace and decorated the churches at Entotto then the capital city However he soon ...

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Suzanne Blier and Oluwatoyin Adepoju

This entry contains two subentries: An Overview; and Contemporary African Art.

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1.Changing perceptions from the late 15th to the early 20th centuries

2.Modernism and 20th‐century exhibitions

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For information on

Art and film: See Art in Latin America and the Caribbean

Brazil: Cinema, Black, in Brazil; Cinema Novo; Diegues; Grande Otelo; Samba, Candomblé, and Quilombo in Brazilian Cinema: An Interpretation.

Capoeira: See Capoeira; Mestre Bimba; Mestre Pastinha.

Carnival: See Carnivals in Latin America and the Caribbean; Afoxés/Blocos Afros; Filhos de Gandhi; Ilê Aiyê; Olodum; Samba Schools.

Music and dance: Berimbau; Contemporary Afro-Brazilian Music; Samba; Tia Ciata; Tropicália.

Musicians: See Benjor; Bola Sete;Brown; Cartola; Caymmi; Djavan; Donga; Garcia; Gil; Jesus; Moreira and Purim; Nascimento; Pandeiro; Pixinguinha; Science; Vasconcelos.

Language: See African Linguistic Influences on Brazilian Portuguese; Cafundó; Complexities of Ethnic and Racial Terminology in Latin America and the Caribbean ...

Article

Roanne Edwards

Afrocubanismo, an expression of Cuba's national identity in the arts, arose during the late 1920s and the 1930s. Afro-Cubanist representatives, such as the composer Amadeo Roldán and the poet Nicolás Guillén, sought to recognize and promote the value of popular black musical, artistic, and literary forms. They also depicted Cuban blacks as central to the Cuban nation and a symbol of exploited Cubans in general. White Creole novelist Alejo Carpentier thus merged Afro-Cuban traditions with European avant-garde literary techniques to decry the social and political marginalization of Afro-Cubans in his first novel, Ecué-Yamba-O (1933). Wifredo Lam, an artist of Afro-Chinese descent, employed cubist techniques in paintings inspired by Afro-Caribbean religions. In their creative work, these artists focused on Cuba's urban black music and culture, which also became a source of inspiration for many middle-class white composers, such as Ernesto Lecuona As a result Afro Cuban ...

Article

Rebecca Martin Nagy

Ethiopian artist, was born in the Gondar Administrative Region of Ethiopia in 1905. Another form of his name is Agegnehu Engeda. Although relatively little is known about his life and work, Agegnehu’s role as a pioneer among twentieth-century Ethiopian painters is noteworthy. At a time when the only opportunity for higher learning in Ethiopia was in church schools and the only training available to aspiring painters was through apprenticeship to church artists, the young Agegnehu Engida was sent to Paris to study painting at the École des Beaux-Arts from 1926 to 1933. According to Ladislas Farago, who interviewed Agegnehu in his home in Addis Ababa soon after the artist’s return from France, Agegnehu’s artistic abilities had been recognized by Haile Selassie, who arranged for him to study abroad. In 1926 Ras Tafari Mekonnen the future Emperor Haile Selassie was regent to Empress Zawditu and heir apparent to ...

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Emad Abdul-Latif

Egyptian poet, critic, broadcaster, painter, and physician, was born in the al-Hanafy district in Cairo. His father, Muhammad Abu Shadi, was the head of the Egyptian Bar Association and his mother, Amina Naguib, was a poetess. He completed his primary and secondary education in Cairo and was involved in antioccupation activities during his adolescence. He joined the faculty of medicine (named Qasr al-Aini) and then traveled to London in 1912 to complete his studies in medicine at the University of London where he obtained a certificate of honor from Saint George Hospital in 1915. He married a British woman and lived with her in Egypt until her death in 1945. Following his return to Egypt in 1922, he served in many governmental posts in such places as the Ministry of Health and the Faculty of Medicine, Alexandria University. In 1946 he immigrated to the United States ...

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Diane Mutti Burke

fugitive slave, was born near Richmond, Virginia, on a plantation owned by the Delaney family. Despite his memories of being well treated, his father, Aleck, was sold to pay his master's debts and taken south. Rev. Delaney justified Aleck's sale by claiming that the literate slave had shared ideas about freedom with other slaves in the neighborhood. When Rev. Delaney died in 1831, Alexander's mother, Chloe, was left to Mrs. Delaney, and eighteen-year-old Alexander was left to the master's son, Thomas. Chloe Alexander died six months after Thomas Delaney took her son with him to Missouri.

Delaney settled in western St Charles County Missouri where Alexander married a local slave woman named Louisa He later sold Alexander to Louisa s master Jim Hollman when he moved from the state and the couple spent the next twenty years living with their growing family on the Hollman farm Alexander was ...

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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 ...

Article

Robert Fay

Alston was born in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a teenager, he served as the art editor for his high school's annual magazine. Alston earned both his undergraduate and M.A. degrees from Columbia University in New York City. He gained popular recognition for his cover illustrations for the periodicals The New Yorker and Collier's. In the 1930s Alston taught at the Harlem Art Workshop, where he was a proponent of muralism as a black art form, and from 1935 to 1936 Alston directed the Harlem Hospital murals for the Federal Arts Project. In 1950 he became the first African American teacher at the Art Students League in New York. His best-known works are the paintings Family and Walking, which are noted for their figurative content, sculptural form, and brilliant color, and which portray the experiences of African American families in the 1950s and 1960s.

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Linda M. Carter

writer, was born in Plainview, Georgia, in Morgan County, the fourth of ten children of George Cleveland Andrews, a sharecropper and self‐taught folk artist, and Viola (Perryman) Andrews, also a sharecropper and, later, a newspaper columnist and the author of published short stories and an unpublished autobiography. Raymond's older brother, Benny Andrews, would become an internationally known painter and printmaker. Raymond Andrews's paternal grandmother, Jessie Rose Lee Wildcat Tennessee, was the daughter of an African American mother and a Native American father. Although she married Eddie Andrews, an African American who died in 1917, Raymond Andrews's paternal grandfather was James Orr, a plantation owner's son.

In 1935 Andrews and his family moved to a small house near his grandmother's home on land owned by Orr. Then in 1943 the Andrews family moved to the nearby Barnett Farm to work as sharecroppers ...

Article

Suzanne Preston Blier

Although the immense Sahara serves as a natural barrier within the African continent, evidence has shown a considerable dissemination of influences through trade routes that traversed the continent from early times. Today, for example, many Islamic art and architectural forms of North African inspiration appear among cultures south of the Sahara. In addition, research has pointed to concurrent influences of sub-Saharan African arts and cultures on northern African areas closer to the Mediterranean Sea. Egypt, one of the most resplendent of African civilizations, can also be seen as having important ancient artistic and cultural parallels with sub-Saharan African civilizations.

The arts of Africa illuminate the rich histories philosophies religions and societies of the inhabitants of this vast continent African artworks in addition to their inherent significance to the peoples who produced them have inspired some of the most important artistic traditions emerging in Europe and the Americas in the modern ...

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James Smalls

Generally speaking, slavery and the slave trade have rarely been subject matter for art. Although many artists from different parts of the globe produced an image or two reflecting the practice of human enslavement, most avoided the topic altogether for political, ideological, or esthetic reasons. The visualization of slavery and the slave trade through art is an inherently political act that automatically positions an artist as either pro- or anti-slavery. The visual representation of slavery or the slave trade was for the most part instigated by and parallel in development with abolitionist movements.

With the increase in anti slavery sentiment throughout Europe and the United States during the late eighteenth century and throughout most of the nineteenth there developed a need for visual propaganda to support the cause Thus most graphic representations were didactic intended to stir sympathy and outrage in the viewer Most were rendered during the eighteenth and ...

Article

Olubukola Gbadegesin

Anthropology, Colonialism, and the Origins of African Art History. Interestingly the field of African art history and criticism as it is known today did not develop from African thought but from European action The origin of contemporary African art history and criticism can be attributed to increased interest in social sciences more specifically in anthropology and ethnography in nineteenth century Europe The field of anthropology experienced a boost during this period in part a result of a growing awareness of and popular curiosity about cultures outside of Europe Anthropology influenced and was influenced by post Enlightenment ideas and popular European perceptions of non Western cultures These perceptions were echoed by early social anthropologists who often subscribed to unabashedly denigrating views of non Western cultures especially those of the African continent Because of these early foundations the diverse artistic traditions of the continent were often characterized as heathen fetishes savage ...

Article

Because art is such a broad topic and Latin America and the Caribbean is such a diverse region, this article will focus on the media of painting and sculpture. With a few exceptions in the field of architecture, the following discussion will not explore the contributions of black artists in other genres, such as the graphic arts and photography. Although they constitute a large and important part of artistic production by Blacks in Latin America and the Caribbean, festival arts, such as the costumes or floats produced for such African-based celebrations as Carnival, and sacred arts, such as altars or ceremonial accessories used in various African-derived religions, including Vodou, Santería, and Candomblé, are also beyond the scope of this article.

This article is organized into three sections concentrating on three countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where blacks have played a central role in defining ...

Article

For information on

African art in general: See Art and Architecture, African; Commodification of African Art: An Interpretation. Motion pictures and filmmakers: See Alassane, Mousstapha; Cinema, African; Cissé, Souleymane; Faye, Safi; Fédération Panafricaine des Cinéastes; Gerima, Haile; Hondo Abid Mohamed Medoun Med ...

Article

For information on

Art and motion pictures in Latin America: See Art in Latin America and the Caribbean; Cinema Novo; Haitian Art; Third Cinema.

Filmmakers: See Cinema, Black, in Brazil; Cinema, Black, in Spanish America; Diegues, Carlos; Giral, Sergio; Gómez, Sara ...

Article

Rebekah Presson Mosby

The colonial period in America was not noted for its fine arts there was little in the way of sculpture and most of the paintings that were made were stiff portraits in the manner of European mostly British art The puritanical spirit that dominated America at the time was not one that nurtured the arts in general Very little if any experimentation went on in any of the arts as most art was regarded as frivolous and a distraction from what was held to be the serious and important business of religion and work Within this context there is evidence that fine art in the form of portraits was made by Africans in colonial America However most of the known artifacts from both slave and free blacks are the work of artisans Some of this work is of exceptionally high quality and it includes just about every imaginable practical and ...