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Theresa Leininger-Miller

Group of African American artists active in France in the 1920s and 1930s. Between the world wars Paris became a Mecca for a “lost generation” of Americans. Hundreds of artists, musicians, and writers from all over the world flocked to the French capital in search of a sense of community and freedom to be creative. For African Americans, the lure of Paris was enhanced by fear of and disgust with widespread racial discrimination experienced in the United States. They sought a more nurturing environment where their work would receive serious attention, as well as the chance to study many of the world’s greatest cultural achievements. France offered this along with an active black diasporal community with a growing sense of Pan-Africanism. Painters, sculptors, and printmakers thrived there, studying at the finest art academies, exhibiting at respected salons, winning awards, seeing choice art collections, mingling with people of diverse ethnic origins, dancing to jazz, and fervently discussing art, race, literature, philosophy, and politics. Although their individual experiences differed widely, they had much in common, including exposure to traditional European art, African art, modern art, and proto-Negritude ideas. As a result of their stay in Paris, all were affected artistically, socially, and politically in positive ways and most went on to have distinguished careers....

Article

Elaine O’Brien

German multi-media installation and performance artist of Kenyan birth. Von Bonin is known for collaborative, richly associative and perplexing spaces full of artworks that suggest Alice-in-Wonderland narratives and evoke Claes Oldenburg’s playful relational strategies.

Von Bonin attained art world prominence soon after her first New York solo show in ...

Article

Susan Kart

(b Nairobi, 1958). Kenyan photographer, multimedia and performance artist, and teacher of Indian descent, active in the USA. DeSouza was born in Kenya to Indian parents. Raised in London from the age of 7, he called his background that of a ‘double colonial history’. DeSouza attended Goldsmiths College in London and the Bath Academy of Art, and although he has worked primarily in photography and as a writer on contemporary art, he has also branched out into performance art, digital painting, and textual and mixed media arts. He moved to the USA in ...

Article

Carol Magee

Cameroonian photographer and dancer, active in the Netherlands. Essamba moved to Paris at the age of nine and later studied philosophy at the Lyceum. After marrying and moving to Amsterdam, she studied photography at the Fotovaschool. She first exhibited at the Gallerie Art Collective, Amsterdam (...

Article

Russell Gullette

South African installation, performance, and video artist and photographer. Geers is part of a generation of African artists who emerged during the global expansion of the art world in the 1990s. Born into a white working-class family, he studied fine arts at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg from ...

Article

Kristine Stiles

British painter, sculptor, conceptual artist, performance artist, video and film maker, of Rhodesian birth. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art, London, from 1946 to 1950. His concern from 1954 was not with the production of art objects as an end in itself but with various processes and consequently with the recording in three dimensions of sequences of events and of patterns of knowledge. In ...

Article

Kimberly Bobier

Sudanese multimedia and performance artist, art critic, and art historian, active in France. Musa graduated from the College of Fine and Applied Art, Khartoum Polytechnic, in 1974. After moving to Italy from Sudan, Musa relocated to France and matriculated at Montpellier University, earning ah Doctorate in Art History in ...

Article

Christine Robinson

Kenyan and German performance artist, installation artist, photographer, and video artist. Mwangi’s work addresses notions of cultural difference, social conventions, racial categories, and national identity, primarily through an autobiographical lens. She has often utilized her body as a subject and engaged with questions related to her own African-European heritage. In ...

Article

dele jegede; updated and revised by Kristina Borrman

Nigerian painter, sculptor, architect, and set designer. Nwoko’s works of art and architecture have been understood as exhibiting the tensions between modernism and indigenous design. Nwoko’s own published discussions of the political history of Nigeria and his recommendations for improvements in education, medicine, environmental conservation, and mechanical engineering have inspired art histories that describe him as not only an artist–architect but as an advocate for social reform....

Article

Dele Jegede

Nigerian sculptor. Self-taught, he used a pocket-knife to create from soft-woods small figures representing missionaries, chiefs, polo players, masked dancers and district officers, among others. Although they often are viewed as caricatures, these figures record contemporary life. Usually carved singly, his figures are often presented as a narrative installation or tableau. Ona was a keen observer of the people who inhabited colonial Nigeria. His style and favoured themes are best represented in pieces that show a District Officer on tour, in a boat, accompanied by a group of figures whose smaller scale alludes to their lower position in the social hierarchy. He was inventive in his medium: his figures are coloured with red and black ink and white shoe polish. The head was emphasized proportionately, in keeping with Yoruba aesthetics. While the figures are monoxylous, their accoutrements (hats, canes etc.) are often removable. Ona moved to Lagos in the 1940s and sold carvings to expatriates. His work was exhibited in the Contemporary African Arts show at the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago, IL, in ...