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Camara Dia Holloway

[Smikle, David Edward]

(b Queens, NY, Nov 25, 1953).

African American photographer. Bey was born and raised in the neighborhood of Jamaica, in Queens, New York City. His interest in photography was cemented by viewing the now infamous exhibition, Harlem on My Mind, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1969. He studied at the School of Visual Arts during 1976–1978, later earning his BFA from Empire State College, State University of New York in 1990, followed by his MFA from Yale University School of Art in 1993.

Bey launched his career in 1975 with the Harlem, USA series, following in the footsteps of street photographers who found the predominantly African American community a compelling subject. This series of black-and-white portraits became the subject of Bey’s first solo exhibition at the Studio Museum in Harlem in 1979.

During the 1980s, Bey continued making portraits expanding his terrain beyond Harlem. Sensitive to the politics of representing African Americans, he developed strategies to equalize the photographic encounter. Bey began using a large-format view camera on a tripod that he set up in the street. He established a dialog with his sitters and gifted them with a print of their portrait. This was facilitated by his discovery of 4 × 5 Polaroid positive/negative Type 55 film that yielded virtually instant prints....


Paul Von Blum

(b Washington, DC, Apr 15, 1915; d Cuernavaca, Mexico, Apr 3, 2012).

African American sculptor, printmaker, and art educator, active also in Mexico. One of the leading African American feminist and political artists of the 20th century and early 21st century, Catlett devoted her career of more than sixty years to expressing critical ideas in powerful visual form both in the United States and in her adopted country of Mexico. Her strong academic background began at Howard University, Washington, DC, where she studied under African American artists James Porter (d 1939), James Wells, and Lois Jones. After graduating in 1937, she completed her MFA in 1940 at the University of Iowa.

In 1941 she married the artist Charles White. Visiting Mexico, they found the Mexican mural and printmaking tradition artistically and politically engaging. After her first marriage ended in 1946, she moved to Mexico in the wake of American postwar political repression. While working at the Taller de Gráfica Popular in Mexico City, she met the Mexican artist ...


Mary M. Tinti

(b Colgate, Jamaica, Oct 16, 1960).

African American photographer of Jamaican birth. Although born in Jamaica, Cox was raised in an upper–middle-class neighborhood in Scarsdale, NY. Interested in both film and photography, Cox favored the latter for its immediacy and began her study of the craft while at Syracuse University. After a brief stint as a fashion photographer, Cox received her MFA from the New York School of Visual Arts in 1992 and participated in the Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program from 1992–3.

Cox became a household name in 2001 when New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani took great offense at Yo Mama’s Last Supper (1996), a controversial photographic reinterpretation of Leonardo’s Last Supper, unveiled at the Brooklyn Museum exhibition, Committed to the Image: Contemporary Black Photographers. (The photo featured a nude Cox, with arms outstretched, flanked by 11 black, dreadlocked apostles and a white Judas.) Outraged at the image’s supposedly irreverent, anti-Catholic overtones, Giuliani called for a special commission on decency to oversee organizations whose exhibitions benefited from public funds. The subsequent media frenzy earned Cox (who was raised Catholic) much publicity in the popular press, which in turn brought new critical attention to her works....


Robert J. Sharer

Site of Pre-Columbian Maya Southern Lowland city on the Motagua River flood plain in Guatemala, 100 km from the Caribbean. Quiriguá flourished in the Classic period (c. 250–c. 900 ce) and is famous for its sculpted monuments, the largest and among the most beautiful produced by the ancient Maya. Photographs and drawings were published by A. P. Maudslay from 1889 to 1902, and the site has been the subject of several excavations, most recently by the University of Pennsylvania (1974–1979).

Ancient Quiriguá covered c. 4 sq. km, but only the largest structures and carved stone monuments rise above 1–2 m of recent alluvium. Most are concentrated at the site core, covering c. 500 sq. m. The sandstone and rhyolite monuments include upright stelae, flat altars, and zoomorphic sculptured boulders. Most combine historical texts with portraits of Quiriguá’s rulers being presented with symbols of authority to reinforce their earthly and supernatural power. The monuments were erected in the Great Plaza (300 × 150 m). A massive, buried platform in the northern third supports Monuments 1–7 (five stelae and two zoomorphs), all dedicated during the final twenty-four years of the reign of Quiriguá’s greatest ruler, ...


George E. Stuart

Site of Pre-Columbian Maya culture in the northeast of the tropical rainforest of Petén, Guatemala. It was discovered in 1962 by oil prospectors, and Richard E. W. Adams and John Gatling carried out preliminary excavations and mapping on behalf of Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, and the Instituto de Antropología e Historia de Guatemala in the same year. Pottery samples from the first test pits indicated that the site was occupied from the Late Preclassic period (c. 300 bcec. 250 ce) to the end of the Classic period (c. 900 ce). Its standing stone buildings, some of which were well preserved, resembled those at Tikal, a much larger Maya site 75 km to the southwest. In 1981 Ian Graham of Harvard University discovered that many of the large pyramids at Río Azul had been cut into and looted; because of this, Adams returned to the site in ...


Olivier de Montmollin

Valley forming part of the Upper Grijalva tributaries region on the southwestern edge of the Lowland Maya area in Chiapas, Mexico. It was the site of several Pre-Columbian settlements noted for their Classic period (c. 250–c. 900 ce) art. The nearest large Maya centers are Chinkultic in the Comitán Highlands and Yaxchilan, Bonampak, and Piedras Negras in the Lacandón jungle, running eastward to the Usumacinta River. Ceramics predating the Classic period suggest that the upper tributaries were originally inhabited by speakers of the non-Maya Zoque language. However, the ceramics and iconography of the Classic period suggest that by this date the area was inhabited by speakers of Maya and that close links had been established with the Lowland Maya area. Between the collapse of the Classic Lowland Maya culture (c. 800–c. 950 ce) and the Spanish Conquest (1521 ce ), close links existed with the Highland Maya cultures of Guatemala....


Robert J. Sharer

Intermontaine basin immediately north of Motagua Valley in the northern Maya Highland area of Guatemala, covering an area of c. 74 sq. km and with an average elevation of c. 1000 m. The region was investigated in 1972–1974 by Robert J. Sharer and David W. Sedat for the Verapaz Project of the University Museum, University of Pennsylvania. Twenty-four Pre-Columbian sites were located within the valley, twenty-one of which were sampled by surface surveys and nine by excavations. The data from this work indicate that the sedentary occupation of the valley dates to between c. 1200 bce and the Spanish Conquest in the 1520s.

The first peak of local socio-political development began in the Middle Preclassic period (c. 1000–c. 300 bce) and culminated in the Late Preclassic period (c. 300 bcec. 250 ce). A second, more rapid developmental cycle peaked during the Late Classic period (...



Richard Lunniss

Pre-Columbian site in Manabí Province on the central coast of Ecuador, centered at the southern end of a sandy bay, sheltered by a headland and Salango Island. It had several phases of occupation, paralleled on nearby La Plata Island.

An early Valdivia culture settlement, indicated by ceramics, stone artifacts, and animal remains and dated by radiocarbon analysis to the 4th or late 3rd millennium bce, lay between the beach and a lagoon. Extending over the area of the lagoon was a Machalilla-phase midden containing a high density of fish bone and shell, and many mother-of-pearl fish-hooks. Thirty-eight individuals were found in graves cut through the midden, for which radiocarbon analysis has given dates in the second half of the 2nd millennium bce. Attributes of the Chorrera culture and Engoroy style are found in ceramics associated with a rectangular wooden structure built over a clay floor capping part of the Machalilla midden. The formal design of its construction and the more elaborate nature of the associated burials and depositions of artifacts suggest a ritual or ceremonial purpose. The dismantling of this building was immediately followed by the construction of the first of several low rectangular platforms surmounted by wooden structures. Later mounds were surrounded by clay-filled trenches supporting posts. Pottery of the Engoroy type, dated by radiocarbon analysis to the first half of the 1st millennium ...


Janet Catherine Berlo


Pre-Columbian Highland Maya site in Escuintla, southern Guatemala, on the outskirts of the modern town of Santa Lucía Cotz. It is the type site of the Cotzumalhuapa art style also known at El Baul, El Castillo, Palo Verde, Palo Gordo, and other sites in the region. Both site and style flourished during the Classic period (c. 250–c. 900 ce). The ceremonial center of Santa Lucía of Cotzumalhuapa stood on a manmade acropolis surmounted by seventeen pyramidal platforms. L. A. Parsons recorded seventy-six stone monuments at the site, although only six remain in situ. In 1880, thirty monuments, including eight famous stelae of ballplayers from the Monument Plaza, were removed to the Museum für Völkerkunde, Berlin. Other pieces are kept at the local finca (landed estate), Las Ilusiones, and at the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia y Etnologia, Guatemala City.

The Santa Lucía Cotzumalhuapa style, typically executed in a combination of high and low relief, is best known from stelae and other stone sculptures. The stelae, set in a vertical position, are rectangular stone slabs dressed on six sides but usually carved on only one face. The Berlin stelae are a coherent group, each depicting a ballplayer, shown in profile and carved in low relief, supplicating a front-facing sky deity in high relief. Irregularly shaped boulder sculptures also occur, and horizontally tenoned stone heads are common. Figural realism is common in the sculptures, and the imagery focuses on the relationship between humans and supernatural beings, portrayed in a frozen narrative suggestive of action and sequence. The central themes are concerned with death and include the ballgame, the sacrifice of trophy heads and hearts and skeletal imagery. There are strong iconographic similarities with the art of such central Mexican centers as ...


Patricia Hills

(b Roxbury, MA, Apr 14, 1922; d Brookline, MA, Jan 22, 2015).

American sculptor, painter, printmaker, and teacher. Raised in Roxbury, a suburb of Boston, Wilson was the second of five children of Reginald and Violet Wilson, immigrants from British Guiana (now the Republic of Guyana). He attended the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston with a full scholarship and received a diploma with highest honors in 1945; a BS degree in art education followed in 1947 from Tufts University. With a fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, he spent 1947–1949 in Paris, where he studied with Fernand Léger. Returning to Boston he taught briefly at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, married Julie Kowitch, and moved to Mexico City with a John Hay Whitney Fellowship. There he became friends with Elizabeth Catlett and her husband Francesco Mora, both active in the graphic workshop organized by leftist artists, the Taller de Gráfica Popular, where he worked. In Mexico he learned the techniques of true fresco, which had been popularized by Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco, and David Alfaro Siqueiros, and painted the mural ...