Collaborations between writers and photographers have provided African Americans with important focus for issues of identity and representation -- or lack thereof -- ever since the first publication of The Sweet Flypaper of Life by Langston Hughes and Roy DeCarava in 1955. Frank Stewart, with his fellow photographers in Kamoinge Inc., and Ntozake Shange -- a longtime fan of photography -- were inspired by this landmark work and committed themselves to continuing the tradition and the artistic conversation into this first decade of this new millennium.
In 1963, Roy DeCarava -- renowned photographer and first president of the Kamoinge Workshop -- set the aesthetic and philosophical tone of the group in response to biased representations of African Americans in the media. As image-makers, the Kamoinge members have sought to shed positive light on their subjects, and to demystify Black life in America. With stunning images from such acclaimed photographers as Anthony Barboza, Adger W. Cowans, Ming Smith Murray, andpoems by Ntozake Shange, one of the most accomplished writers of her time, The Sweet Breath of Life is a rich and thought-provoking book, destined to become a classic work of American photography and literature.
Buick considers the institutions and people that supported Lewis’s career—including Oberlin College, abolitionists in Boston, and American expatriates in Italy—and she explores how their agendas affected the way they perceived and described the artist. Analyzing four of Lewis’s most popular sculptures, each created between 1866 and 1876, Buick discusses interpretations of Hiawatha in terms of the cultural impact of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha; Forever Free and Hagar in the Wilderness in light of art historians’ assumptions that artworks created by African American artists necessarily reflect African American themes; and The Death of Cleopatra in relation to broader problems of reading art as a reflection of identity.
Black Venus 2010 traces Baartman’s memory in our collective histories, as well as her symbolic history in the construction and identity of black women as artists, performers, and icons. The wide-ranging essays, poems, and images in Black Venus 2010 represent some of the most compelling responses to Baartman. Each one grapples with the enduring legacy of this young African woman who forever remains a touchstone for black women.
Contributors include: Elizabeth Alexander, Holly Bass, Petrushka A Bazin, William Jelani Cobb, Lisa Gail Collins, Renée Cox, J. Yolande Daniels, Carole Boyce Davies, Leon de Wailly, Manthia Diawara, Diana Ferrus, Cheryl Finley, Nikky Finney, Kianga K. Ford, Terri Francis, Sander Gilman, Renée Green, Joy Gregory, Lyle Ashton Harris, Michael D. Harris, Linda Susan Jackson, Kellie Jones, Roshini Kempadoo, Simone Leigh, Zine Magubane, E. Ethelbert Miller, Robin Mitchell, Charmaine Nelson, Tracey Rose, Radcliffe Roye, Bernadette Searle, Lorna Simpson, Debra S. Singer, Penny Siopis, Hank Willis Thomas, Kara Walker, Michele Wallace, Carla Williams, Carrie Mae Weems, J. T. Zealy, and the editor.
These three neighborhoods are, respectively, historically African American, predominantly Mexican American, and proudly ethnically mixed. Drawing on her ethnographic research in each place, Diane Grams presents and analyzes the different kinds of networks of interest and support that sustain the making of art outside of the limelight. And she introduces us to the various individuals—from cutting-edge artists to collectors to municipal planners—who work together to develop their communities, honor their history, and enrich the experiences of their neighbors through art. Along with its novel insights into these little examined art worlds, Producing Local Color also provides a thought-provoking account of how urban neighborhoods change and grow.
"This is a very valuable book for anyone interested in master African American artists."---Dr. Margaret Rose Vendryes, artist and independent scholar
Praise for A Life on Paper: The Drawings and Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers
"This volume by Theisen presents a highly respectable, concise biography of the life and graphic work of John Biggers, now recognized as a major African American artist."---Choice
"A beautiful tribute to a man and his art"---Review of Texas Books
Cover image is a detail from Salt March, 1998. Acrylic on canvas. Approx. 96 x 120 in. University of Houston Student Life Center, Houston.
John Thomas Biggers (1924-2001) was one of the most significant African American artists of the twentieth century. He was known for his murals, but also for his drawings, paintings, and lithographs, and was honored by a major traveling retrospective exhibition from 1995 to 1997. He created archetypal imagery that spoke positively to the rich and varied ethnic heritage of African Americans, long before the Civil Rights era drew attention to their African cultural roots. His influence upon other artists was profound, both for the power of his art and as professor and elder statesman to younger generations.
Olive Jensen Theisen's long-time commitment to the art of John Biggers resulted from the serendipitous discovery of an early Biggers mural in a school storeroom in the mid-1980s. Theisen immediately recognized the artist, the work, and its significance. She then set about returning The History of Negro Education in Morris County, Texas to a place of honor and found herself becoming a friend and recorder of John Biggers's stories and experiences relating to the creation of his other murals too, including Family Unity at Texas Southern University.
Containing more than eighty color and black-and-white illustrations, Walls that Speak is a richly illustrated update of an earlier edition published in 1996. The artist completed new murals between its publication and his death in 2001. In addition to the inclusion of the new murals, Theisen has added a chapter on Biggers's African art collection. The only work exclusively dedicated to his murals, this book will appeal to all those interested in murals or African American art.