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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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...


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 ...