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Amalia K. Amaki

sculptor, ceramicist, and educator, was one of America's most prolific and respected three‐dimensional artists in the mid‐twentieth century. Born in Washington, North Carolina, to Elizabeth Davis and Thomas Miggett, he lived primarily with his father until the fall of 1926 when he relocated to Harlem and began living with his mother and her husband, George Artis. In New York he assumed the surname of his stepfather. He attended Haaren High School and went on to study sculpture and pottery at the Augusta Savage Studio of Arts and Crafts in the early 1930s, joining the ranks of Jacob Armstead Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, and other notable artists whose initial studies included instruction under Savage. Artis was also a contemporary of his fellow sculptors Selma Hortense Burke and Richmond Barthé the latter the most exhibited and honored three dimensional artist associated with ...

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Myrna Guerrero Villalona

was born in the San Carlos neighborhood of Santo Domingo, the capital of the Dominican Republic, on 16 June 1930, at the beginning of the dictatorship of Rafael L. Trujillo (1930–1961), and three months before the San Zenón hurricane flattened the city (3 September 1930).

Her parents were Porfirio Balcácer and Tomasina Rodríguez a couple with scarce financial resources who valued education as a way out of poverty In addition to Ada they had a son Porfirio Lorenzo Ada grew up between her parents home on Ravelo Street in San Carlos and the home of her maternal grandmother in San Juan de la Maguana The city located about 118 miles from Santo Domingo afforded Ada direct contact with myths and legends from the cultural reservoir of her country s heritage Her grandfather Catedral de los Santos was the overseer on a farm and a devotee ...

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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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Norma Rodney Harrack

one of the eminent figures of twentieth-century pottery, is widely recognized as the father of modern pottery in Jamaica.

Historically, the Taino, Jamaica’s earliest inhabitants, settled on the island about 600 bce and used clay to make everyday household utensils. The influx of imports and arriving European artisans and enslaved Africans in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries into the island proved fertile for the development of a local pottery industry. African slaves brought their ceramic traditions, and today, the influence of their pottery-making styles still persists across the island. The coexistence of different pottery traditions gave rise to a Jamaican syncretic pottery, and Cecil Baugh would later play a crucial pioneering role in creating an identity for Jamaican potters.

Born on 22 November 1908 in Bangor Ridge Portland Jamaica to farmers Isaac and Emma Baugh Cecil was the youngest of four children He attended elementary school in Bangor Ridge ...

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LeGrace Benson

was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, in 1946 to parents whose given names are not definitively known His carpenter father died when he was 5 years old leaving Bazile and five siblings in the care of their widowed mother Reared as a devout Catholic Bazile remained so throughout his life attending church each Sunday until his final days Bazile lived most of his life on Rue des Césars in Port au Prince where he arrived with his mother and siblings at a time when the neighborhood was becoming densely populated Many people migrating from the countryside into the city in search of work during this time were Vodou practitioners who were also baptized as Catholics Bazile went to the local Catholic school with the intention of becoming an accountant He excelled in mathematics and geometry skills that he would put to use a few years later as an artist He ...

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Cynthia Hawkins

ceramist, sculptor, filmmaker, and cofounder (with her husband, James Hatch) of the Hatch‐Billops Collection, an archive of African American cultural history, was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lucius Billops, a cook and merchant seaman, and Alma Gilmore, a dressmaker, maid, and aircraft assembly worker. Billops graduated from Catholic Girls High School in 1952, and in 1954 she began her studies at the University of Southern California. She majored in occupational therapy, which included drawing, sculpture, and ceramics. She transferred to Los Angeles State College in 1956 after she became pregnant, and then she changed her major to special education. Billops worked during the day as a bank bookkeeper and maintained a full academic workload in the evening. At the end of 1956 her daughter, Christa, was born, and Billops put her up for adoption. This was an experience she would explore in her 1992 ...

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LeGrace Benson

was born in the Bel Air district of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, a center of Vodou spiritual activity where a number of artists created sequined ritual flags and bottles essential to Vodou ceremonies. He grew up in the lakou (extended family) of the oungan (Vodou priest) Ceus “Tibout” St. Louis, leader and primary teacher of sequin artists. Spiritually precocious, Cédor became an oungan while still in his teens, and set up his own Vodou ounfò (temple) close to that of his mentor, Tibout. He continued to serve Tibout’s ounfò as manager and director, and was leader of a noted Rara band, a traditional Haitian musical genre. He married Marquis St. Louis, Tibout’s daughter, who was also skilled in the delicate stitching required to make the ritual objects.

By the time of Cédor s childhood and youth the Bel Air district once a semirural section of the rapidly expanding capital of Haiti was ...

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María Auxiliadora González Malabet

was born on 30 August 1926 in Quibdó in the department of Chocó Colombia Nicknamed the black DaVinci and El Brujo an alias roughly translated as a man who knows a lot Mosquera was one of the most well rounded artists of Quibdó and Colombia He was the son of Solomon Córdoba Valencia and Clara Mosquera Clara was a housewife who sold fruit and fish and also performed as a street singer Alfonso s interest in music and sculpture however came from his father who was a domestic carpenter who also transported passengers across the river and entertained them by singings to them or telling them jokes Alfonso inherited not only an interest in singing and composing but also in the art form of carving wood and clay As a child he was first inspired to carve statues out of clay after he saw images of saints at the ...

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Kyra E. Hicks

quilter and textile artist, was born Michael Arthur Cummings in Los Angeles, California, to Arthur Cummings, who worked for the U.S. Postal Service, and Dorothy Dent Cummings Goodson. He was the oldest of three children, including sisters Phyllis and Monica. Cummings attended Fremont High School and Los Angeles City College.

In 1970 Cummings moved to New York, where he attended the Art Students League and later earned a BA in American Art History at Empire College of the State University of New York. His early art mediums were painting, shadow boxes, and collage. The collage and mixed media work of Romare Bearden and appliquéd banners such as those created by the Fon of the Republic of Benin were early artistic influences on Cummings who once made a fabric banner He saw the potential to explore art through fabric and quilts also appreciating that fabrics could be folded shipped and ...

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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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Amalia K. Amaki

painter, graphic artist, and archivist, was born William Richard Hutson in San Marcos, Texas, to Mattie Lee (Edwards) Hudson, a homemaker and employee at Texas State University, and Floyd Waymon Hudson, a laborer, bandleader, and pianist. He grew up with three siblings, Floyd Waymon Jr., Ellen Ruth, and Clarence Albert. When his father died in 1942 his family moved in with his grandmother. In 1949 he entered San Marcos Colored High School. With no art classes at school or in the segregated community, he took a drawing correspondence course in 1951 from Art Instruction, Inc. of Minneapolis, Minnesota, working odd jobs to cover costs. His mother died in 1952 at thirty-nine following a long illness, and Hutson moved to San Antonio with his siblings to live with aunts Jewel Littlejohn and Milber Jones in the East Terrace Housing Project, his uncle Wilbur ...

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Aaron Myers

Lois Mailou Jones was born in Boston, Massachusetts. At the age of four, she began to copy paintings in the homes of wealthy white people for whom her mother, a beautician and hat maker, worked. Her formal education began in her high school years, when she attended vocational drawing classes in the evenings and on weekends at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She then studied textile design at the Boston Designers Art School before beginning a four-year program in School of the Museum of Fine Arts, from which she was graduated in 1927 with honors in design.

Because she was black, Jones was denied a graduate assistantship and explored what appeared to be her only other option, teaching art at a black school. In 1928 she established an art department at Palmer Memorial Institute in Sedalia North Carolina At that time art departments at southern black schools ...

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Lisa E. Rivo

artist and teacher, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, the second of two children of Carolyn Dorinda Adams, a beautician, and Thomas Vreeland Jones, a building superintendent. Jones's father became a lawyer at age forty, and she credited him with inspiring her by example: “Much of my drive surely comes from my father—wanting to be someone, to have an ambition” (Benjamin, 4). While majoring in art at the High School of Practical Arts, Jones spent afternoons in a drawing program at Boston's Museum of Fine Arts. On weekends she apprenticed with Grace Ripley, a prominent designer of theatrical masks and costumes. From 1923 to 1927 she studied design at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and became one of the school s first African American graduates Upon graduation Jones who had earned a teaching certificate from the Boston Normal Art School received a one ...

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Tritobia Hayes Benjamin

An active and acclaimed painter for more than six decades, Lois Mailou Jones enjoyed two impressive careers, one as a professor of art and the other as an artist. Her teaching gave her financial security and served as an inspiration and a challenge.

Lois Jones was born in Boston to Caroline Dorinda Adams and Thomas Vreeland Jones. Her father was superintendent of a large office building and attended night classes at Suffolk Law School, where he received his law degree in 1915 at the age of forty. “I think that much of my drive surely comes from my father,” Jones once said, “wanting to be someone, having an ambition.” Her mother was a beautician and Jones’s first mentor. She filled the Jones home with color and freshly cut flowers, instilling in her daughter a love of beauty.

With the assistance of four annual tuition scholarships Jones earned a diploma ...

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Amy Helene Kirschke

painter. The African American painter and art educator Lois Mailou Jones became interested in depicting the African heritage during the Harlem Renaissance, when she was greatly influenced by the painter Aaron Douglas. Jones's artistic career spanned more than seventy years, during which time she furthered the cause of African American visual art and addressed issues of prejudice toward both African Americans and women.

Jones was strongly encouraged by her parents to pursue her talents in the visual arts. She grew up in Boston, graduated from the High School of Practical Arts, and then studied at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, where she won four successive scholarships and received a diploma in design in 1927 She spent a summer studying art at Harvard University and then took a position to create an art program at the Palmer Memorial Institute in North Carolina a college ...

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Diana Wylie

South African artist and activist, was born Thamsanqa Harry Mnyele on 10 December 1948, in a house owned by his maternal grandparents on Sixth Avenue, Alexandra Township, Johannesburg. He was the second child of David Freddy Harry “Khotso” Mnyele and Sarah Mamanyena, née Thamane. His father was then working as a clerk but, after studying at Wilberforce Institute, Evaton, became a minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the early 1950s. His parents divorced in 1952. His mother, working as a domestic servant in the white suburbs of Johannesburg, sent her children in 1956 to live with relatives in Makapanstad, a village northwest of Pretoria. There, Mnyele attended Thipe and Mmamudu schools and Nchaupe II Memorial College. He left Nchaupe before taking his matriculation exam. In 1973 he studied art for nine months at the Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre at Rorke s ...

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Jeremy Rich

Ghanaian artist, was born on 13 June 1922 in the Ghanaian town of Wenchi located in the Brong Ahafo Region Her father Emmanuel Victor Asihene was a moderator in the Presbyterian church in her home town Her mother was Dora Asihene In her youth Okoh studied at Presbyterian mission schools She drew attention for both her artistic ability and her excellent play in field hockey Some even dubbed her The Joan of Arc of Ghana Hockey for both her skill and her determination to promote the sport later in life Okoh attended and graduated from Achimota College the first government run university in Ghana At the university she became known for her painting and her collages which she continued to produce through the early twenty first century She then worked as a schoolteacher in and around the eastern Ghanaian town of Kukurantumi and became known to locals as Teacher ...

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Kim Marie Vaz

Nigerian textile artist and painter, was born on 23 May 1951 in Ogidi-Ijumu, Kogi State, Nigeria. Known as Nike, she worked in the traditional medium of adire, a textile art form created by the Yoruba women of Nigeria. These skills were considered part of the gender-specific knowledge women needed to perform their domestic responsibilities. The adire technique consists of a resist dye process to produce designs of light and dark blue using indigo. Indigo, a plant-based dye, is made by pounding and fermenting the young leaves of plants belonging to the genus Indigofera. In past times, women would use a chicken feather to paint the patterns on white cotton cloth. Nike perfected the traditional adire (a hand-woven aso-oke Yoruba textile form and has expanded her art to batiks and paintings on canvas and hardboard Her themes are the history traditions and cosmology of the Yoruba people She ...

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Sarah Powers

artist, illustrator, and textile designer, was born in the Bronx, New York. Her father was a public school teacher of Latin and Greek from Augusta, Georgia, while her mother was from Roanoke, Virginia. Piper was raised and spent most of her life in New York City. Her interest in painting began when she was in high school. Although she was offered a four-year scholarship to the Pratt Institute, a New York art school, in 1936 she instead enrolled in Hunter College with the intention of becoming a teacher. In 1940 she graduated, receiving a BA in Fine Arts, with a minor in geometry. From 1943 to 1946 she continued her art education at the Art Students League in New York City, where her most influential teachers were painters Yasuo Kuniyoshi and Vaclav Vytlacil.

Piper was awarded a fellowship from the Rosenwald Foundation in 1946 allowing ...