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Pamela Lee Gray

wood carver, sculptor, and folk artist, was born Jesse James Aaron in Lake City, Florida, to descendants of slaves and Seminole Indians. Aaron attended school for less than one year before he was sent to work as a contract laborer for local farms. Trained as a baker when he was twenty-one years old, he found he enjoyed the creativity it required. He opened several bakeries, worked as a cook at Gainesville's Hotel Thomas from 1933 to 1937, and then cooked for a variety of fraternities and hospitals in Florida. Aaron also worked as a cook aboard the Seaboard Air Line Railroad during this time.

Aaron married Leeanna Jenkins, and when the family settled in northwest Gainesville in the 1930s they opened a nursery. From this point until 1968 when Aaron became a folk artist at the age of eighty one it is difficult to determine what is ...

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Jerry C. Waters

an interdisciplinary artist and musician, was born Terry Roger Adkins in Washington, D.C., the eldest of five children of Robert Hamilton Adkins, a teacher and a musician, and Doris Jackson Adkins, a homemaker and musician. Adkins was raised in Alexandria, Virginia.

The artistic and musical achievements of Terry Adkins are linked to his formative years. Born in the racially segregated South, he attended a predominantly black primary school in Alexandria, Virginia, and graduated in 1971 from Ascension Academy a mostly white Catholic high school Adkins s parents encouraged his artistic talents and academic pursuits because education was valued within the extended Adkins family His father Robert Hamilton Adkins was a chemistry and science teacher at Parker Gray High School a predominantly black school in Alexandria and performed within the community as an organist and vocalist Adkins s grandfather the Reverend Andrew Warren Adkins pastored Alfred Street Baptist ...

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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 ...

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María Elba Torres

was born in the neighborhood of Bélgica in Ponce, Puerto Rico, on 12 January 1928. His parents were José Rodríguez Torres, a lathe operator, and doña Esmeralda Alicea, a homemaker. He studied drawing and painting with don Miguel Pou, a painter who was also from Ponce. Alicea himself tells us that he paid for Master Pou’s classes with picture frames he built himself. In 1936, together with his neighbor William Haddock, who also lived in Bélgica, he made comic strips for the school in Ponce. The neighborhood he grew up in—as well as his mother and the Afroboricua music, dance, and songs present—all instilled in him an Afro-descendant consciousness.

Alicea joined the US Army in 1943 at the age of 14 Among his artistic mentors were the Spanish sculptor Francisco Vázquez Díaz known as Compostela and the graphic artist Lorenzo Homar He worked creating window displays a ...

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Baptiste Bonnefoy

was born José Toribio Apelo on 7 April 1797 in Santiago, Chile, the illegitimate son of Pascuala Apelo Gormas, the daughter-in-law of the pardo captain Domingo Eustaquio Cruzate (1709–1788). Apelo himself was considered a pardo, a designation commonly applied in eighteenth-century Chile to free men and women of color. At an early age he went to work for the master carpenter Ambrosio Santelices, the most famous sculptor in the Chilean capital at the time, whose shop was located directly across from the current site of the National Library. In this workshop Apelo met and befriended the master’s son, the sculptor Pedro Santelices. At about this time, he also joined the city’s black militia, a group that was charged with the night patrol of the city’s shops and warehouses. On 15 April 1805 Apelo married the master carpenter s daughter María del Carmen the couple would have ...

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Roberto Conduru

was born on 15 November 1940, the son of Guilhermina Alves and Vital Araújo. His full name is Emanoel Alves de Araújo; he was born into a traditional family of goldsmiths in Santo Amaro da Purificação, in Bahia, Brazil. There, he learned carpentry with master Eufrásio Vargas, worked with linotype and typesetting in the official press, and held his first exhibition in 1959.

In the 1960s, he moved to Salvador, where he majored in printmaking at the Federal University of Bahia, in 1965. Since then, he has held solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions held in Brazil and abroad.

His artistic work has explored the transformation of traditional artistic media from chromatic and three dimensional experiments with printmaking his work unfolded in sculptures some of them displayed in public spaces His work has also promoted the articulation of African descended cultures with constructivist principles and forms ...

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Pauline de Souza

was born in Trinidad, Cuba, in 1970. In 1994 he graduated from the Superior Institute of Art in Havana. In 1992, while still studying, he joined Los Carpinteros (The Carpenters), a Havana art collective. In 1994 the group decided that they would only sign their work as a collective. For them, art, whether physical or conceptual, was about collaboration. They intended to challenge cultural assumptions about cityscapes and public spaces by creating architecture that would get people to really look at their surroundings and the buildings.

Arrechea’s career as an artist took off when he received a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Culture, allowing him to spend five months in Spain. International recognition of Los Carpinteros occurred in 1998, when they showed at the International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO), held in Madrid, Spain. They gained further recognition with their installation Transportable City (Ciudad transportable ...

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André Willis

William Ellisworth Artis was born February 2, 1914, in Washington, North Carolina, to Elizabeth Davis and Thomas Migget. In 1926 he went to live with his mother and her husband, George Artis, in New York City. Artis's artistic education took him through a number of institutions, including the Art Student's League, Pennsylvania State University, Chadron State College in Nebraska, and Syracuse University. He also studied under Harlem Renaissance sculptor Augusta Savage. Artis won the Metropolitan Scholarship award for creative sculpture in 1933, and the Outstanding Educator of America and Outstanding Afro-American Artist awards in 1970. His sculptures are singular in their treatment of human life and their vitality of form. Later in his career Artis taught at Nebraska State Teacher's College and the Harlem Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA).

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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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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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Richmond Barthé grew up in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, and New Orleans, Louisiana. His father died at the age of twenty-two, one month after Barthé's birth. In early childhood, Barthé began drawing and painting watercolor scenes. His mother, Marie Clementine Roboteau, raised him alone, fostering his interest in the arts. He received further encouragement from his fellow townspeople and the nuns at his parochial school.

In 1915 Barthé moved to New Orleans, where he painted and worked as a butler. At the age of eighteen he won a local drawing contest. During the nine years that Barthé spent in New Orleans, he tried to enter art school, but his admission was denied because he was black. Critic Lyle Saxon of the Times-Picayune newspaper attempted to wield his influence to allow Barthé into a New Orleans art school, but his efforts failed.

Barthé eventually focused his interest on schools ...

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Theresa Leininger-Miller

sculptor, was born in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi, the son of Richmond Barthé and Marie Clementine Roboteau, a seamstress. His father died when Barthé was one month old. Barthé began drawing as a child and first exhibited his work at the county fair in Mississippi at age twelve. He did not attend high school, but he learned about his African heritage from books borrowed from a local grocer and publications given to him by a wealthy white family that vacationed in Bay St. Louis. This family, which had connections to Africa through ambassadorships, hired Barthé as a butler when he was in his teens; he moved with them to New Orleans. At age eighteen Barthé won first prize for a drawing he sent to the Mississippi County Fair. Lyle Saxon, the literary critic for the New Orleans Times Picayune then attempted to register Barthé in a ...

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Maria Stilson

artist. Barthé's stylistic sculptures of the African American captured the human passion and genuine character, culture, and ethnic identity of the race. His sensitivity in his work revealed a glimpse into the life and spirit of the African American during an era of oppression and persecution. Barthé's unique ability to expose the vulnerability of his subjects brought him wide recognition in the art world and the social circles of the early and mid-twentieth century.

Born in Bay Saint Louis, Mississippi, Barthé grew up on the coastal bay, an area populated by wealthy New Orleans families. His father, Richmond Barthé Sr., died at the age of twenty-two, when Barthé was only a few months old. Barthé's mother, Marie Clementine Robateau Barthé, left a single mother, raised him while working as a seamstress. When Barthé was six she married his godfather, William Franklin a workingman and a cornet ...

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Ghirmai Negash

avant-garde Eritrean novelist, playwright, and painter-cum-sculptor, was educated in Eritrea, Ethiopia, and at the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, from which he graduated in 1963 with a degree in public administration and political science. Beyene Haile lived in Addis Ababa until Eritrean independence. In 1992, he moved to Asmara, where he worked as a management consultant and trainer while still pursuing his artistic career.

Beyene Haile is the author of three Tigrinya-language novels and a play. His 1965 debut novel, Abiduʾdo Teblewo? Madness differs from conventional Tigrinya writing in at least three fundamental ways First it takes an intellectual and artist as its main character and tells his story with compelling force and narrative skill Wounded by life the central character of the novel a bohemian artist called Mezgebe uses his art to heal his wounds and those of others in a manner that borders on insanity Another ...

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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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Rebecca Martin Nagy

artist and educator, was born in Addis Ababa to an Ethiopian mother and an Armenian father who was a colonel in the Imperial Body Guard of Haile Selassie. Boghossian received early art training at Tafari Makonnen Secondary School and in private lessons with Stanislas Chojnacki, a historian of Ethiopian art and water-colorist, then librarian at the University College of Addis Ababa (later Haile Selassie I University and now Addis Ababa University), and with Jacques Godbout, a Canadian writer, filmmaker, and painter who taught French at the University College.

In 1955 Boghossian won second prize at an art exhibition held as part of Haile Selassie s Jubilee Anniversary Celebration and was awarded an imperial scholarship to study in London After attending classes at St Martin s School the Central School and the Slade School of Fine Art in London the young artist decided to transfer his studies to Paris where ...

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Pauline de Souza

a self-taught artist whose art was very much rooted in his religious visions, was born in rural Clarendon, Jamaica. He combined his Pentecostal evangelical spirituality with African drumming rituals; symbolic images from Kumina, a Jamaican religious ceremony in which a person becomes possessed by spirits through dance and music; Pocomania, a folk religion in which possession takes place by ancestors; and religious revivalism. His apocalyptic visions developed when he moved to Kingston at the age of 20 with his wife, Jenny. Together, they had ten children: Clinton, Joseph, Errol, Winston, Dorothy, Myrtle, Sandra, Venice, Ruth, and Rebecca.

During the 1940s in Kingston Brown met the Rastafarian preacher Joseph Hibbert who encouraged him to interpret his visions Eventually Brown converted to Rastafarianism after experiencing a series of visions of Haile Selassie emperor of Ethiopia who symbolized black freedom from European colonialism Brown was to spend the next fifteen years in Kingston ...

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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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Misere Osorio Ramírez

was born José Ramón Osorio Bulerín in Canóvana, Puerto Rico. He was the son of Gabriel Osorio and Juana Bulerín Guzmán, but his father was absent from his childhood. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood where everyone worked at the local sugar refinery. The fourth of ten siblings, Ramón was raised by his mother and his grandmother, Martina Guzmán (informally known as “la negra,” or “the black woman”), who cultivated in him an independent and honest character. As of 2015, eight of Bulerín’s ten siblings were still alive, as was his mother. Bulerín has two daughters, the first, Misere Osorio Ramírez, was born in 1985, and the second, Pamela Osorio Ramírez, was born in 1988.

During his childhood Bulerín enjoyed sketching and as a result his teachers asked him to help them with drawings for school He began by drawing everything that he saw in magazines ...