dunson    The premiere exhibition, "Robert S. Duncanson: The Spiritual Striving of the Freedman’s Sons" opened on May 1, 2011 at the Thomas Cole National Site in Catskill, N.Y. I was transported into the environment that inspired Thomas Cole as I approached the Rip Van Winkle Bridge. I drove into the landscape with the Hudson River in the foreground, a panorama of the Catskill Mountains in the middle and high in the background, Olana the enchanting estate of Coles’ student Frederick Church.
     The historic event at Cedar Grove, the birthplace of American Art, was the first official recognition in the East of Duncanson’s relationship to the Hudson River School of Art. His body of work received resounding endorsement by keynote lecturer Joseph D. Ketner author of “The Emergence of the African-American Artist: Robert S. Duncanson 1821-1872”, the first full-length biography of Duncanson.
Thomas Cole, the father of American landscape painting and founder of the Hudson River School of Art in Catskill, New York greatly influenced Duncanson in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Duncanson, a free person of color in Ohio during slavery, cultivated craft knowledge as a house painter to achieve success as a self-taught portrait artist. With freedom and the stimulation of Cincinnati, Ohio, then known as “Athens of the West”, he immersed himself in literature and fine arts, absorbed the landscape paintings of Thomas Cole and Frederick Church and dedicated himself to mastering landscape painting.

studio_artJamaican-American artist Simone Leigh joins Kamau Amy Patton and Paul Mpagi Sepuya in “Evidence of Accumulation,” an exhibition of works by The Studio Museum’s 2010–2011 artists-in-residence. Evidence of Accumulation, organized by Assistant Curator Lauren Haynes, maintains the Museum’s commitment to highlighting new artistic talent and voices. The works are on view until October 23, 2011. The Museum is located at 144 West 125th Street in New York.

Simone Leigh (1968) creates ceramic objects, frequently referencing colonial and anthropological histories, as well as ethnographic objects and artifacts. Leigh’s work often brings together her handcrafted works with ready-made objects. Collaboration is another important aspect of Leigh’s process, and during her time at the Studio Museum, her interest in collaboration has deepened. Breakdown (2011), a video collaboration with artist Liz Magic Laser and opera singer Alicia Hall Moran, looks at historic moments of female crisis and psychological “breakdowns” in popular culture.

Kamau Amu Patton (1972) creates atmospheric installations using a diverse range of media. For this exhibition, Patton has created a selection of drawings and compositions. Some use traditional drawing materials, such as ink or acrylic paint, while others are made using photography or sound, expanding our consideration of what a drawing might be. In 5000K (2011), a work comprised of light, electronics and computer software, Patton turns part of the gallery into a sound field, which creates a composition generated through measuring the intensity of the 5000 Kelvin light levels in this space.

Paul Mpagi Sepuya’s (1982) color photographs demonstrate his active engagement with the history and process of portraiture, as well as his experiments with framing, cropping and editing. Sepuya portrays young men in his community, making visible the relationships and intimacy between himself and his subjects. Studio Work (2010–present) is an installation of photographs, including self-portraits, created in his studio at the Museum. By inviting his subjects into his studio space, Sepuya adds his presence to the photographs, even from behind the camera.

For original post, see http://arcthemagazine.com/arc/2011/07/simone-leigh-artist-in-residence-at-the-studio-museum-in-harlem/

For more information and interviews with the artists, visit http://www.studiomuseum.org/exhibition/evidence-accumulation-artists-in-residence-2010-11-simone-leigh-kamau-amu-patton-paul-mpa.

Source: RepeatingIslands.com

textileIf you love West African fabrics, beads, and embellishments, and want to learn more about them up-close with like-minded adventure seekers as you immerse yourself in Ghanaian culture, you’ll want to join Cultured Expressions’ second Textile & Craft Tour of Ghana, taking place September 15-27, 2011!  

sally_bassett_torchWhy you must visit the popular memorial site on Bermuda’s African Diaspora Heritage Trail!

As Bermuda gears up to host the Sixth Annual African Diaspora Heritage Trail (ADHT) Conference on October 15th-17th, so does anticipation to view the controversial Sally Bassett Memorial Statue that was erected a little over a year ago. Located on the grounds of Bermuda’s Cabinet Office, the statue is a very popular site that is now a part of the island’s African Diaspora Heritage Trail. This year’s 2010 ADHT conference, with the theme ‘Evolution of the Trail,’ will be about the history, culture, global communities and economic empowerment within the Diaspora. In addition to workshops, meetings and gala receptions, conference attendees will get to view the long-awaited Sally Bassett Memorial Statue as a part of cultural activities during the conference.

Pertinent issues and resolutions about the international advancement of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail will be discussed at the upcoming conference, along with issues about black heritage sites, like the Sally Bassett structure, which was not without opposition when plans were being made to erect it. The idea of a statue honouring a woman who had committed a crime being erected on government grounds did not sit too well with some Bermudians. To understand this controversy, you must first understand the story of Sally Bassett.

Evewright_24_may_2010_credit-_Kadija_SesayTalented artist to create world's first, sand drawing project using participation of people.

Everton Wright (Evewright) has wanted to be an artist for as long as he remembers. Even though he says that it has taken some time for him to get to the point to be able to focus solely on work as an artist, he somehow always found time to draw. “Drawing is my gift from God. Drawing is always the first entry point to my different creations,” he says.

Evewright is a London-based artist and experienced brand/communication consultant, who now draws and uses his artistic talents full-time in his own studio, EveWrightVisual Arts and Communications. With twenty years of experience in commercial design and art direction, he has carved out a name for himself.  He has produced everything from sculpture, video, painting and drawing to create new forms and materials for top companies and media groups. His unconventional creations of art have been described as bold, daring, confrontational and of course, uniquely beautiful.  His clients have included Sony Music, South Africa Airways, Sunoco, and Talawa Theatre Company, the most noted black-oriented theater in Great Britain.

Dobbin_HouseFrom 1913 when Harriet Tubman died until the 1990s, the nation's memory of the long-lived, ubiquitous, clandestine moral network called the Underground Railroad waned almost to the point of extinction.  With the advent of Cincinnati's marvelous National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the federal government's three Underground Railroad programs, Underground Railroad Free Press and the renewed interest among a rapidly growing number of enthusiasts over the last decade or so, the Underground Railroad has again taken a visible place in American and Canadian life.

For the traveler and tourist, an enticing part of this resurgence is the growing number of tours and Underground Railroad sites which have been opened to the public.  Rockville, Maryland, Kennett Square and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Burlington, New Jersey, and Rochester, New York, are just a few places which offer guided Underground Railroad tours.  A Google search on "Underground Railroad tours" will direct you to the sponsoring organizations in these locales and others.

There are three self-guided Underground Railroad tours in and around Frederick County, Maryland area. The most comprehensive of these begins at Gettysburg's Dobbin House, perhaps the nation's best restored safe-house, runs by the many safe-houses and routes of Frederick County, and ends at the old Quaker village of Waterford, Virginia.  This tour takes about a half day.  The American Cycling Association sponsors a 2,000-mile bicycle tour along Underground Railroad routes from Mobile, Alabama, to Canada, with interesting side trips. Most of this route can also be traveled by car.

A comprehensive map of Underground Railroad sites is Google's MapMuse map which may be found at bam.mapmuse.com/build-a-map/map/the-underground-railroad.  The National Park Service offers an abbreviated list of sites at nps.gov/history/ugrr/list.htm but this also includes places of enslavement, arrest sites and other points opposed to the Underground Railroad.  

For more on the Underground Railroad, a good source is urrFreePress.com where you may subscribe to a free Underground Railroad newsletter, register Underground Railroad organizations, list Underground Railroad events, and read or download the annual Free Press surveys of the international Underground Railroad community.

Photo: Dobbin House, Gettysburg, PA


Bio of Peter Michael

Peter Michael is the author of An American Family of the Underground Railroad, a history of his family’s involvement as Underground Railroad safe-house operators, and of Guide to Freedom, story of the Underground Railroad in one United States county, and ground-breaking methodology of examining the Underground Railroad in a particular locale.  He is the founder and publisher of ‘Underground Railroad Free Press’, the nation's highest circulation Underground Railroad news publication.  Michael is the owner and operator of Cooling Springs Farm, one of the nation's most visited Underground Railroad historic sites.  

He holds a BS in electrical engineering from the University of Maryland and MBA in Int. Business from University of California at Berkeley, and  he has done post graduate work at Princeton University. In addition to teaching at the University of Maryland and California State University, he has also taught at universities in Thailand, Japan and Costa Rica. Michael is also the founder president of Michael Strategic Analysis, a company that serves private-sector clientele, governments and non-profit organizations in areas of economic strategic planning, market analysis and research.



Immerse yourself in the rich culture of Ghana in West Africa. Just 15 kilometers from the Ghanaian capital of Accra, the 2010 KUSUN Study Tour, an alluring educational synergy in West African drum, dance, and song, commences in the village of Nungua.

In the language of the Ga people, the word ‘Kusun’ means tradition. The KUSUN study tour has attracted international students since its founding in 1998, fulfilling its mission of sharing African tradition with people around the world.  With as many as 350 people participating in the tour every year, students have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who share in the love of West African music and culture.


Story and photos by Lucille Davie

After a few hours at the Apartheid Museum you will feel that you were in the townships in the '70s and '80s, dodging police bullets or teargas canisters, or marching and toyi-toyiing with thousands of school children, or carrying the body of a comrade into a nearby house.

This extraordinarily powerful museum, certain to become one of Johannesburg's most important tourist attractions, has become an obligatory stop for tourists and residents alike.

Portrait_of_Female_Soldier_by_Agustiv_V_CasasolaDe­­­veloped at the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago by curators Sagrario Curz-Carretero and Cesáreo Moreno, From Yanga to the Present is a bilingual exhibition that examines the history, culture, and art of Mexico’s little-known African population. ‘Afro-Mexican’ refers to Africans who arrived in present-day Mexico as slaves or servants during 16th century Spanish exploration and colonization of the ‘New World.’ Most people think of Mexicans as having a mixture of Spanish and Indigenous origins, this view being furthered by the 1920s nationalist movement which emphasized the indigenous part of Mexico’s ethnic identity.  However, race and ethnicity in Mexican history have been more complex than this.


On March 4, 2010, the British Museum in London opened an exhibtion showcasing works from the ancient West African city-state of Ife. As the kingdom of Ife was once considered the epitome of West African art and culture, this exhibition is sure to be a must-see.  Most of the pieces in the exhibition are loaned from Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments. Featured works will date from the 12th to the 15th century and will include many mediums such as terracotta, brass, stone, and copper.

As old as these pieces of art may be, the Kingdom of Ife itself is actually even older;