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Born in rural Jamaica, Everald Brown moved to West Kingston in 1947 and became deeply interested in the religion of the Rastafarians. Having established a small unofficial church in 1960, he began making artworks for use in church ritual. These works are noted for their intuitive style and use of imagery from Rastafarian, Ethiopian Orthodox, Judaic, and Christian revivalist religious traditions. Brown claims that these images come to him through dreams and visions. Among his most acclaimed paintings is Ethiopian Apple (1970), which is in the collection of the National Gallery of Jamaica.

An accomplished sculptor as well as an intuitive painter, Brown has also gained fame for his carved musical instruments. From the early 1970s he lived in rural Jamaica, where he devoted himself to art that promoted spiritual and environmental concerns.

See also Art in Latin America and the Caribbean.

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SaFiya D. Hoskins

artist, was born in Fuquay, North Carolina, and adopted as Beverly Buchanan by Marion and Walter Buchanan. Her father worked as the dean of the School of Agriculture at South Carolina State College, the only state school for African Americans in that state. Buchanan was raised in Orangeburg, where South Carolina State is located, and often traveled the state with her father as he met with farmers. At an early age she was captivated by the landscape of the rural South and the simple architecture of the dwellings there. Buchanan enjoyed drawing the people she encountered on these outings with her father. Despite her early inclination toward art, in 1958, upon graduating from high school, she enrolled at Bennett College, a historically black women's college in Greensboro, North Carolina. In 1962 Buchanan earned a bachelor of science degree in Medical Technology from Bennett and moved to ...

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Ginette Curry

sculptor, poet, novelist, and painter, was born Barbara Chase in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the only daughter of Charles Edward Chase, a contractor, and Vivian May West, a medical technician. Chase grew up in a nurturing middle-class environment and took dance lessons at the age of five, piano lessons at six, and art lessons at seven. In 1946 she enrolled at the Fletcher Memorial Art School in Philadelphia, where she received her first art prize for creating a small Greek vase. She flourished intellectually and was admitted to the Philadelphia Museum School of Art, where she studied dance with Marion Cuyjet, a master ballet teacher. She also attended Philadelphia's Academy of Music. At eleven years old, she began writing poetry and enrolled at the Philadelphia High School for Girls. In 1954 she won the National Scholastic Art Contest For the first time she exhibited her prints at the ACA ...

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Candace L. LeClaire

artist, was born to Mattie Bell, an unmarried, teenage sharecropper in Emelle, Alabama. Dial was the second of Bell's twelve children and was named simply “Buck” at birth. He did not have a formal surname and grew up uncertain of the identity of his biological father. Mattie Bell married a man named Dan Pratt shortly after the birth of her third son, and the couple went on to have nine more children. His mother's new and growing family proved to be a difficult adjustment for Buck, and he was sent to live with his great-grandmother, Had Dial, on the nearby farm of Bell's older cousin, Buddy Jake Dial. The Dials, who were of African and Native American descent, raised and cared for Thornton; they put him to work on the farm, and gave him the last name of Dial.

Dial s artistic sensibilities in part developed ...

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crystal am nelson

folk artist, was born Samuel Doyle on St. Helena Island, the Gullah Islands, South Carolina, one of nine children of Thomas Sr. and Sue Ladsen Doyle farmers on the Wallace plantation of mostly freed slaves Doyle attended the Penn School which was one of the country s first vocational and agricultural schools created by the Freedmen s Associations of Philadelphia to educate freed slaves on St Helena s Island He studied literature and carpentry through the ninth grade but was recognized for his drawing skills A teacher encouraged him to travel to New York where he could better nurture his talent with the growing opportunities available to African American artists however owing to financial constraints Doyle chose to remain on the island He dropped out of the Penn School following the ninth grade and found a job as a store clerk He later took on work as a ...

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J. Deborah Johnson Sterrett

painter and sculptor, was born on a small farm just outside Kansas City, Kansas, the second of five children of Ed Dwight Sr., a professional baseball player with the Negro League's Kansas City Monarchs, and Georgia Baker, a devout Catholic, who took on the primary care of the children. The family moved into Kansas City when Dwight was ten years old and his mother opened a restaurant. The children worked alongside her. Dwight was a precocious child who displayed his artistic talent from age two, drawing cartoon characters and painting throughout his childhood. He began making signs for his mother's restaurant. When he was fourteen years old, he opened his first lucrative business, a sign shop that served retail establishments and area churches.

Dwight attended Catholic schools and graduated from Bishop Ward High School in 1951, and he joined the air force in 1953. In 1955 ...

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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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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 ...

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Pamela Lee Gray

musician, activist, author, painter, and sculptor, was born Richard Pierce Havens in Brooklyn, New York, the oldest of nine children. He grew up in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood. His father, Richard Havens, worked as a metal plater and dreamed of becoming a professional pianist, eventually learning to play a number of instruments. Richie's mother Mildred a bookbinder and casual singer at home encouraged her young son when he started singing background vocals at the age of twelve for local groups All kinds of music were played in the Havens home Richie s grandmother listened to Yiddish gospel and big band music his mother enjoyed country music and his father loved jazz He joined the doo wop singing group the Five Chances at age fifteen and performed the next year with the Brooklyn McCrea Gospel Singers a group that sang hymns for neighborhood churches Havens ...

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Theresa Leininger-Miller

artist, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the son of Anderson Johnson and Lizzie Jackson. When Johnson was ten years old, his father died of an unknown cause. Because his mother suffered from tuberculosis, the children were sent to relatives. Johnson lived with his maternal uncle, Sherman William Jackson, and his wife, the sculptor May Howard Jackson, for several years in Washington, D.C. Then he and his siblings stayed briefly with their maternal grandparents in Alexandria, Virginia. When their mother died in 1902 the girls went to a Catholic school in Pennsylvania and the boys went to a Sisters of Charity orphanage in Worcester Massachusetts Johnson attended public school and worked in the Sisters of Charity Hospital He began painting as an adolescent while recovering from a long illness After Johnson studied singing briefly at a music school in Boston he lived with relatives in Chicago ...

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Amalia K. Amaki

sculptor, painter, and printmaker, was born in Bridgetown, Barbados, West Indies, the only child of Malcolm, a pharmacist, and Miriam Knight, a homemaker. Knight lost her father when she was two, and her mother suffered a severe leg injury that permanently limited her mobility when a hurricane struck the island while she was still very young. As a result Gwen grew up with foster parents and moved with this family to the United States in 1920, settling in St. Louis, Missouri. Always writing, drawing, and dancing she completed her first paintings between the ages of eight and nine years of age. At thirteen she moved with her family to New York, where she attended Wadleigh Annex and Wadleigh Street School for Girls. She was an avid reader of newspapers and modern literature, especially the work of Countée Cullen, Virginia Woolf, and Zora Neale Hurston ...

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 ...

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Mary Krane Derr

self-taught artist, was born Gregory Warmack in Chicago, Illinois, to Margaret Warmack. Raised on Chicago's South and West Sides, he was the third of nine children in a religious, financially impoverished family. His mother encouraged him to develop his burgeoning artistic talents. As a small child he spontaneously composed his own sculptures, collages, paintings, and other artworks out of discarded items, such as cardboard boxes. His church gave him his first commissions. By his teens he had produced so much art that his work took up all the space in his room, and he had to sleep under the kitchen table. Throughout his teens and twenties he worked odd jobs while crafting canes, hats, tree-bark carvings, and jewelry from castoff materials and selling them on the street and in neighborhood restaurants and bars.

In 1978 Warmack had a life changing experience One evening a man he recognized ...

Article

Amy Helene Kirschke

sculptor. Nancy Elizabeth Prophet was born in Warwick, Rhode Island. Her grandmother was a Narragansett-Petout Native American, her grandfather a former slave. Like many other artists, Prophet faced the disappointment of her parents when she chose to pursue a career in the visual arts. In 1913 Prophet entered the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), where she supported herself with odd jobs; her work was admired by the school's director, L. Earl Rowe, and she graduated in 1918. Prophet believed that the education she received at RISD helped her when she studied in Paris because RISD was well known abroad, too.

Although Prophet graduated in drawing, sculpture was her first love. Unable to make a living in Rhode Island, she decided to travel to Paris in the summer of 1921 or 1922, with $350 to her name. She remained in Paris until 1934 spending the ...

Article

Lean'tin L. Bracks

artist and educator, was born Gregory David Leon Ridley Jr. in Smyrna, Tennessee, one of three children of Gregory David Leon Ridley Sr., a deacon minister, and Lucile (Elder) Ridley, a domestic worker and artist. Lucile Ridley was known for her quilts, appliqués, and crafts, which she displayed at local arts and craft shows and club exhibits as far away as Appalachia. Gregory Ridley often traveled with his mother when she exhibited her work, and he learned a lot from her. His mastery of repoussé, a metalwork technique used to create a relief design, often by working the reverse side of a metal surface, began when his mother taught him to mold the tinfoil from cigarette wrappers into various shapes. Ridley later graduated to pounding or molding brass and copper.

In 1936 the family moved to Nashville Tennessee where Gregory Ridley completed his education in the ...

Article

Frank Martin

artist, educator, and community activist, was born in Charleston, South Carolina, the son of Edward Rose Sr. and Mary Marshall. Arthur Rose attended the segregated public schools in Charleston. In 1942 Rose enlisted as a ship serviceman in the U.S. Navy; he served until 1945. A member of Company 1621, 18th Regiment, 28th Battalion of the U.S. Naval Reserve Corps, Rose entered basic training in Chicago and was later stationed at the naval base in Norfolk, Virginia, for the duration of the war, and did not see combat. He returned to Charleston and graduated from Burke High School in 1946. He later matriculated at Claflin University, South Carolina's oldest historically black institution of higher learning, established in 1869.

Rose was among the first students in Claflin s history to major in fine arts During his college tenure Rose met and married fellow ...

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Nico Slate

artist, teacher, and activist, was born in Aberdeen, Mississippi, the son of Cleveland Sykes, a handyman, and Anna Bell Clay. Growing up in Mississippi and in St. Louis, Missouri, Sykes and his eight siblings faced segregation and poverty. In the face of racism and hardship, his parents taught him to treat his home and his neighborhood with care and respect. In 1958 Sykes moved to San Diego, California, where he began painting in his spare time and where he met Erma Thornton. In 1961 he moved again, this time to Los Angeles, where two years later he and Erma were married.

Rozzell and Erma Sykes rented a small bungalow on the 4800 block of St Elmo Drive in Mid City Los Angeles The building was old and dilapidated but the Sykeses improved it practicing one of Rozzell s favorite sayings If you are ...

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Rubem Valentim was born in Salvador, Bahia. Although he studied dentistry in college, he could not resist the appeal of fine arts. For more than four decades Valentim was one of Brazil's most celebrated painters and sculptors. Even after his death in 1991 Valentim s work was widely ...

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J. Deborah Johnson Sterrett

painter and sculptor, was born in Gloster, Mississippi, the fourth of six children to Reverend James W. Washington, a cabinetmaker and an associate minister at the Gloster Baptist Church, and Lizzie, a homemaker. The birth year for Washington has been reported between 1909 and 1911 Washington made a futile effort to obtain a birth certificate and is reported to have rejected the notion of chronological age In the rural segregated town of Gloster Washington endured poverty unequal education and racially fueled terrorism that propelled him into a lifetime fight for social justice As a boy of six he saw his father under threats from the Ku Klux Klan forced to flee town in the trunk of a white friend s car Wasington never saw him again Without his father Washington forged a greater bond with his mother whom he credits for nurturing his natural talents in the ...

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Krystal Appiah

artist, teacher, and arts advocate, was born Mary Jeanne Parks in Atlanta, Georgia, the eldest of four daughters of Hattie Brookins and Walter Parks, owner of a shoe repair shop.

Washington began developing her artistic talent formally in an advanced art class in high school. While exhibiting her work at a school art fair, Washington met the artist Hale Woodruff, who would become her lifelong mentor and friend. After high school, Washington enrolled at Spelman College, where she majored in art, studying under Woodruff and the sculptors Elizabeth Prophet and William Artis. While at Spelman, Woodruff encouraged Washington to spend the summer of 1945 at the Art Students League in New York, where she studied drawing under Reginald Marsh.

After Washington graduated from Spelman in 1946 Woodruff helped her receive a Rosenwald Fund scholarship to attend the Summer Art Institute at the experimental ...