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Mary (Polly) Nooter Roberts

Senegalese visual artist, was born in a rural Senegalese town in 1954 and moved to Dakar in 1973, where he received a degree in fine arts from the National Institute of the Arts of Senegal and his baccalaureate in 1979. He also earned a four-year degree in arts education from the National School of Art Education. Diba was then awarded a scholarship to pursue a doctorate in urban geography at the University of Nice, where he wrote a dissertation comparing human impact on the environments of Dakar and Nice. Since 1986 Diba has been a professor of visual arts at the National School of Art Education in Dakar and has served as president of the Senegalese National Association of Visual Arts He was one of the founders of Dak Art the Biennial of Contemporary African Art and serves on its Scientific Commission Diba has been instrumental in ...

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Roberto Conduru

was born on 11 September 1950 in São Luís do Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil. Early on, she cultivated the craft of handmade clothing, as well as corn husk and fabric dolls (cloth witches). In 1958 she moved with her family to Rio de Janeiro, where she has lived ever since.

In 1987 Martins joined the Movement of Negro Women and worked as the coordinator of cultural animation at the Integrated Center for Public Education Luiz Carlos Prestes, located in Cidade de Deus, in Jacarepagua, to the west of Rio de Janeiro. In June of that same year, she began experimenting with a particular mode of expression that involved a technique of making dolls from scraps of fabric and with the minimal use of tools, utilizing only knots and without glue or sewing. The following year, she named the doll “Abayomi,” a Yoruba word that means “precious encounter.” Later in 1988 ...

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Paul Von Blum

artist and arts administrator, was born in Greenville, North Carolina, the son of John Ivery Outterbridge, a self-employed truck hauler, and Olivia Outterbridge, a homemaker whom her son imaginatively describes as a “poet of family life.” John Outterbridge's decades of artistic accomplishments, including paintings, sculptures, and mixed media assemblages, influenced and inspired younger artists of all backgrounds throughout southern California and the nation. His artwork, reflecting his profound dedication to recapturing the African and African American past, made him a legendary figure in African American art. Throughout his career, moreover, he combined administrative leadership in Los Angeles–area community art programs with a prolific record of studio production.

Each step of his life informed his artistic perspective Discovering his creativity in early childhood he drew and painted with his parents active encouragement He experienced both the slights and insults of the Jim Crow era as well as the ...

Article

Sylvie Kandé

multimedia artist, philosopher, and educator, was born in Harlem, New York, the only child of Daniel Robert, a lawyer, and Olive Xavier Smith Piper, an administrator. Belonging to a light-skinned African American family, she was confronted early on by challenges that ultimately gave her work some of its unique characteristics, namely the firm assertion of her black identity, her unremitting fleshing out of racial stereotypes, and her commitment to cross-cultural bridge-building. Her involvement with the arts began in childhood: a piano prodigy and ballet dancer, she also took classes at the Museum of Modern Art in 1957. Her political consciousness was first shaped in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), which she joined in 1962, and by the events surrounding the March on Washington in 1963, commemorated in her 1983 poster Think about It She graduated from New Lincoln School in ...

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Roberto Conduru

was born in Japaratuba, a city located in the state of Sergipe in northeastern Brazil on either 16 March or 14 May 1911. His parents Adriano Bispo do Rosario and Blandina Francisca de Jesus were descendants of Africans who had been enslaved in the country. In 1925 he joined the Brazilian navy, which he left in 1932. The following year, he began working as a washer for the Viação Excelsior bus company in Rio de Janeiro. After this company fired him in 1937, he worked as a janitor at the residence of Humberto Magalhães Leone, a lawyer.

In 1938 he was taken to the National Hospital for the Insane in Rio de Janeiro where he was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic The following year he was transferred and admitted to the Colônia Juliano Moreira in the same city an institution that at that time housed people ...

Article

Lisa D. Freiman

artist and educator, was born Betye Irene Brown in Pasadena, California, to Beatrice (maiden name unknown), a seamstress who enjoyed quilting, and Jefferson Brown, a salesman who liked to sketch and write. Jefferson Brown died from kidney problems when Saar was six years old, and Betye and her brother and sister lived with her mother's great-aunt and great-uncle until her mother remarried a man named Emmett six years later. After the second marriage, Beatrice had two more children, a boy and a girl. Saar spent summers with her grandmother in Watts, where she saw Simon Rodia'sWatts Towers, a vernacular example of assemblage consisting of eight tall conical spirals. Built from steel rods, covered in concrete, and encrusted with found objects like bottle caps, glass, broken tiles, and shells, the Watts Towers seemed like “fairy-tale castles” (Isenberg, State of the Arts 23 to Saar and ...

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Lonnie Graham

artist. Born Betye Irene Brown in Los Angeles, California, Betye Saar is a renowned assemblage artist and the mother of three daughters—Lezley, Alison, and Tracye Saar—two of whom, Lezley and Alison, are also well-known artists.

Betye Saar earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1949. She did graduate work at California State University at Long Beach from 1958 to 1962. Later in 1962 she returned to Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California to specialize in printmaking; she also continued her studies at California State University at Northridge that year. In 1970 she entered the Pasadena School of Fine Arts to study film.

While residing in Pasadena during the 1950s Betye Brown took a turn from her professional life as a social worker and became active in her early artistic career as ...

Article

Earnestine Jenkins

Betye Saar’s multidimensional work destroys the distinctions between the traditional art forms of painting, sculpture, and printmaking. She has participated in group and solo exhibitions throughout the country, and her work is in major collections in museums across the United States.

Betye Saar was born in Los Angeles. As a child she often visited her relatives in nearby Watts, where she actually observed the construction of Watts Towers (1921-1954) by the self-taught artist Simon Rodia. Saar credits the memory of the construction of the towering spirals (from bottle caps, glass, tiles, cement, and steel) with her lifelong interest in putting together or assembling creative works using different art techniques, and from castoff, found materials. Saar graduated with a degree in design from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1949 and pursued graduate work at California State University Long Beach in art education and printmaking ...

Article

Robert Fay

Born Betye Brown in Los Angeles, California, Betye Saar (pronounced Say-er) is the daughter of Jefferson and Beatrice Brown. She married artist Richard Saar shortly after earning a B.A. degree in design from the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1949. Saar pursued graduate studies at California State University at Long Beach, the University of Southern California, and California State University at Northridge. She has taught at UCLA and at the Parsons-Otis Institute.

Although Saar began as a printmaker and graphic designer, she later made a transition to three-dimensional work. The work that marked this turning point was Black Girl's Window (1969 in which Saar placed a print of an African American girl into a segmented window frame with existing objects She gradually replaced prints in her assemblages with existing objects She has increased the scale of her work to include room sized ...

Article

Anne Kingery

an artist active in a variety of mediums, was born to Charles and Elizabeth Talford Scott (a steel worker and a fiber artist/domestic care provider). Joyce Scott is descended from three generations of artists. Elizabeth Talford Scott is renowned for her quilts, which she extensively exhibited during the late twentieth century. From an early age, Scott was encouraged by her parents to make and study art. In 1970 she graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, with a bachelor of fine arts degree in Art Education. In 1971 she gained her master of fine arts degree from the Instituto Allende, San Miguel Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico.

From 1974 to 1976 Scott continued her education with a residence at the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Deer Isle, Maine, where she studied Yoruba weaving techniques with the Nigerian artists Twins Seven Seven and his wife, Nike Seven Seven ...

Article

Josepha Sherman

artist and preacher, was born to a West African father and a Cherokee mother in Africa, although the exact date was not recorded. After two years the family moved to the United States and settled on the Cherokee Indian Reservation in North Carolina, where Sparrow s maternal grandfather lived Sparrow later claimed the man was a tribal chief Sparrow grew up in an area that was settled by Cherokees and the descendants of slaves At seven he began preaching to the forest animals then he began speaking in tongues and speaking to his family s Pentecostal church In his youth he drew stick figures in the sand then recorded images on scraps of paper One day he discovered pieces of plywood and began to use them to for his sketches A passing man offered to buy one but Sparrow angrily refused he had not made pictures to sell ...

Article

Joanna Grabski

Senegalese artist, educator, and administrator, was born in Dakar, Senegal, on 18 May 1948. Sy became a practicing artist in the 1970s, a period when Senegalese artistic production moved away from its independence-era association with Négritude philosophy and the state patronage of President Léopold Sédar Senghor. Sy attended the National School of Art Education in Dakar, Senegal (1970–1976), as well as the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels, Belgium (1976–1979), where his studies focused on drawing, painting, and printmaking. With his artistic sensibility forged in a cosmopolitan crucible, Sy’s ideas about art and artists developed with sensitivity to international perspectives. This orientation figured into both his individual artistic practice and his pedagogical approach at the National School of Fine Arts in Dakar, where he taught from 1979 to 1986. During his tenure as Director of the National School of Fine Arts from 1986 to 1996 he ...

Article

Elisabeth Harney

Senegalese visual artist and teacher, was born in 1931 near Dakar.

In 1947, Tall trained in an early private art studio in Dakar, run by the Frenchman Cosson. He then traveled in 1955 on a government scholarship to Paris to study at the École spéciale d’architecture. In 1959, Léopold Sédar Senghor, the philosopher, poet, and later first president of Senegal, saw some of Tall’s drawings on exhibit in Paris and encouraged him to pursue fine arts. Following this encounter, Senghor promoted the young Tall, supporting his application for a grant to attend the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and to pursue further instruction in Sèvres, where Tall studied painting, serigraphy, tapestry, mosaics, and pedagogy.

Papa Ibra Tall is best known for the key role he played in postindependence Senegal as a teacher in the art school and as director in the national tapestry center Critics would characterize ...