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Theresa Leininger-Miller

[Negro Colony]

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

South African, 20th century, male.

Born 1906, in Somerset East, Eastern Cape; died 1982, in Port Shepstone, Natal (KwaZulu-Natal).

Painter, watercolourist, draughtsman, printmaker, Collage, installations, performance art.

Walter Whall Battiss was raised in the Orange Free State (Free State), where he was introduced to rock art by William Fowler. He worked in the Rustenburg Magistrate’s Office (...

Article

Egyptian, 20th century, male.

Born 1940, in Cairo.

Painter, watercolourist, illustrator, decorative artist. Decorative motifs. Stage costumes and sets, designs for jewellery.

A pupil at the Académie Julian, the École des Arts Decoratifs and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Georges Doche went on to show his work in several public exhibitions and, in particular, at the Salon des Artistes Indépendants in Paris, as well as at several private galleries in Geneva, Tokyo and London. He had a number of solo exhibitions, including in Paris (...

Article

Algerian, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in Belgium from 1979, naturalised in 1990.

Born 22 April 1952, in Kabylia (Bejaïa).

Painter, illustrator, musician. Local scenes.

Born in the Kabylia region in Algeria, Boubeker was also a storyteller and singer. He paints the everyday life of shepherds, camel herders, women going about their work in the home and garden, creating compositions full of narrative detail with a feel of childlike poetry. Hamsi began exhibiting his paintings in ...

Article

Egyptian, 10th century, male.

Active at the end of the 10th century.

Painter. Local scenes.

Ibn El Azîz was a painter at the court of the Fatimids in Cairo. He was mainly in the service of Vizir Bazuri, for whom he painted among other works a ...

Article

Kristine Stiles

(b Zambesi River, nr Victoria Falls, Rhodesia [now Zimbabwe], Feb 23, 1921; d London, Jan 1, 2006).

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 1958 he introduced torn, overpainted and partly burnt books into assemblages such as Burial of Count Orgaz (1958; London, Tate), followed in 1964 by the first of a series of SKOOB Towers (from ‘books’ spelt backwards), constructed from stacks of venerated tomes such as the Encyclopedia Britannica, which he ignited and burnt. The destruction and parody of systems of knowledge implied in Latham’s work was apparent in 1966, when he organized a party at which guests chewed pages of Clement Greenberg’s book Art and Culture...

Article

Algerian, 20th century, male.

Painter, performance artist.

Tarik Mesli studied at the school of fine arts in Algiers from 1985 to 1993. He took part in collective exhibitions, including the International Biennale, Algiers (1989); Galerie M, Oran (1992); and the Centre Culturel Algérien, Paris (...

Article

dele jegede

revised by Kristina Borrman

(b Idumuje-Ugboko, Delta State, Dec 20, 1935).

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.

Nwoko was one of the first of his generation of contemporary Nigerian artists to study fine arts at the Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Zaria (1957–61). During his time as a student in Nigeria, Nwoko (along with classmate Uche Okeke) designed the Pavilion of Arts and Crafts, Lagos, in celebration of Nigerian Independence (1960). After his graduation, Nwoko won a scholarship from the Congress for Cultural Freedom to study scenic design at the Centre Français du Théâtre. Nwoko continued his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, choosing to add the disciplines of fresco painting and architectural decoration to his educational programme....

Article

Bolaji V. Campbell

(b Iragbiji, 1940).

Nigerian painter, musician and actor. He was an actor and drummer with the Duro Lapido Theatre Company in 1960s, touring with the group for two years. In 1964 he attended the Mbari Mbayo Workshop in Oshogbo and began painting, inspired by Hezbon Owiti’s work. His first exhibition was in Edinburgh in 1967. His early works were abstract oil paintings of city life, in which he explored problems facing urban dwellers—pregnancy, hunger, the run-down city environment. He painted with bold, textural brushstrokes, often using a palette knife or roller, and he juxtaposed muted colour with strong line to create emotional and visual impact. In the 1980s his work became more figurative, and he began to deal with more generic themes of innocence, evil, humour. He obtained a diploma in dramatic arts from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife, where he was an instructor in the Music Department for many years.

J. Kennedy: ‘Muraina Oyelami of Nigeria’, ...

Article

Ruth Rosengarten

(b Cape Verde, Dec 9, 1909; d Lisbon, Aug 17, 1966).

Portuguese painter, poet, critic and theatre director. Having studied aesthetics under Charles Lalo (1877–1953) and history of art under Henri-Joseph Focillon at the Sorbonne, he returned to Lisbon where, in 1932, he edited the magazine Revolução and became the director of the first Portuguese gallery of modern art, which was known as U.P. He was one of the signatories of the Manifeste dimensioniste in 1935. Between 1926 and 1939 he published 11 volumes of poetry as well as various critical articles.

Pedro’s paintings reflect his literary interests in their stress on the strange, poetic and monstrous, for example Romantic Intervention (1940; Lisbon, Mus. Gulbenkian). In 1940 his exhibition in Lisbon with António Dacosta and the English sculptress Pamela Bowden was seen as the first national manifestation of Surrealism. In 1942 he published a semi-autobiographical illustrated text Apenas una narrativa (‘Just a narrative’). Also in 1942, he edited the shortlived magazine ...

Article

Colette E. Bidon

(b Algiers, March 23, 1861; d Marlotte, Seine-et-Marne, March 1932).

French painter and designer. He began his career painting the Algerian scenes of his youth, rendering Orientalist subjects—such as markets and musicians—with a distinctive, unaffected precision. In 1888 he went to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts under Auguste Herst (b 1825) and Fernand Cormon. He exhibited at the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts from 1890.

The discovery of Ruskin and the Pre-Raphaelites, and a visit to Italy in 1894, led Point to model his work on the artists of the Florentine Renaissance. The inspiration of Botticelli and Leonardo can be seen in such works as the Eternal Chimera (c. 1895; London, Piccadilly Gal.). Under the dominating influence of Gustave Moreau, his work was also aligned with Symbolism. He became a disciple of Rosicrucianism and a friend of Sâr Peladan, fastidiously rejecting the modern industrial world and what he considered the excessive realism of Zola or Courbet. He painted magicians, endowed with a pure and ancient beauty, or figures of Greek mythology (e.g. ...

Article

South African, 20th–21st century, male.

Born 5 February 1958, in Pretoria.

Printmaker, sculptor, watercolourist, curator.

Joachim Schönfeldt spent his childhood in Windhoek, Namibia, and graduated with a fine arts degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, in 1980. He began his career as a researcher into old African art and curios and spent time during the 1980s as a curator of the Meneghelli Holdings. His work in the field of African curios was seminal to the development of his art, which explores the idea of casting mythical realities on African value systems, involving found objects, multiple-headed animals, and peri-urban local landscapes drawn from photographs of his childhood holidays....

Article

dele jegede

[ Prince Taiwo Olaniyi Oyewale-Toyeje Oyekale Osuntoki ]

(b Ibadan, May 1944; d Ibadan, June 16, 2011).

Nigerian painter, draughtsman, printmaker and textile designer. In 1964, while working as a dancer for a herbalist, he participated in the Mbari Mbayo Workshop in Oshogbo, producing drawings and prints. After Ulli Beier left Oshogbo, Twins Seven Seven switched to oils as a preferred medium. He drew illustrations for Amos Tutuola’s Palmwine Drinkard and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. In pen and ink drawings, etchings and paintings he created highly patterned representations of Yoruba life, populated by figures both natural and supernatural. A compulsive artist, Twins Seven Seven allowed his pieces to ‘unfold’ as they were created. His compositions are dense with overlapping figures, and every space of the pictorial plane is filled with some decorative or integral detail, as in his Baptist Church of Bush of Ghost (etching, 375 × 305 mm, c. 1969; Oxford, priv. col.). His paintings of the 1970s are covered with a luminous varnish, and it was during this time that he developed a layered style on plywood, a palette of earth tones sprinkled with bright greens and yellows, and a pictorial field in which figures are delineated in dark hues....