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4 African American Women Artists You Should Know with Amalia Amaki
March 10, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
It’s no secret, African American women have not been given their proper dues in society or in art history. For centuries, it was exclusively white men who decided what or who was worthy of study- but that’s changing, and black creators, particularly women, are slowly gaining the recognition they deserved all along.
In honor of Women’s History Month, the Artists Archives will present 4 African American Women Artists You Should Know with renowned art historian, author, and artist Amalia Amaki. Held on Wednesday, March 10th at 7:00pm, this hour-long virtual program explores the lives and work of Augusta Christine Fells Savage, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, Norma Gloria Morgan and Camille Billops, 4 artists known not only for their individual achievement, but for the crucial roles they played in the development of contemporary art.
Savage (1892-1952), a sculptor, teacher, and Harlem community art program director, and Prophet (1890-1960), a celebrated expatriate sculptor in France affiliated with the Negro Colony in Paris, came to the attention of the art world in the climate of the New Negro movement of the 1920’s. Morgan (1928-2017), a printmaker and painter of the Catskills, and Billops (1933-2019), a printmaker, sculptor, documentary filmmaker and archivist, emerged during the of civil rights era, creating revolutionary work that took up the mantle of their predecessors.
Presenter Amalia Amaki’s own artwork explores the lives of African women of the Diaspora through photography and found objects including beads, textiles, and flowers. These feminine artifacts are echoes from her childhood when she was given buttons to play with because marbles were considered “too boyish.” In her academic work, Amaki has championed the unsung legacies of women artists of color, with Savage, Prophet, Morgan, and Billops being a particular area of interest. As she describes, “The nature of their art, creative individualism and impact warrants a revisit of work that is underdiscussed and historically undervalued. These women changed the face of art through their support, teaching, and most importantly through their creation. Their work is not only masterful, it also represents important eras in the advancement of African American art.”
4 African American Women Artists You Should Know is free and open to the public, and a live audience Q & A will follow Amaki’s richly illustrated lecture.
About Amalia Amaki: Amalia K. Amaki is an artist, art historian, curator, and writer. She received a BA in Journalism from Georgia State University, BA in Photography from the University of New Mexico, and MA and Ph.D. in Modern American Art and Culture from Emory University’s Institute of Liberal Arts where she was a Foreign Study Fellow in France. Dr. Amaki has taught at Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, University of North Georgia, University of Delaware and University of Alabama. She also taught photography at Student Art Centers International (SACI) in Florence, Italy. Her publications include: A Century of African American Art: The Paul R. Jones Collection; Hale Woodruff, Nancy Elizabeth Prophet, and the Academy; two books on Tuscaloosa, AL, and a book on Tuskegee, AL. Her more than thirty solo shows include a retrospective at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, DC and the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art. She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in photography, artist grants from the Georgia Council for the Arts, Fulton County Arts Council and the City of Atlanta, and won art commissions from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Valdosta State University, the 1996 Olympics, several public agencies and private corporations and The High Museum of Art’s Creative Hearts Youth Art Community Quilt Project. Dr. Amaki has curated numerous exhibitions, primarily as curator of the Paul R. Jones Art Collection. She has published five books and written several catalog essays, articles and art related blogs.