By Olive Jensen Theisen
John Thomas Biggers (1924-2001) used to be a tremendous African American artist who encouraged numerous others via his educating, work of art, work, and drawings. After receiving traditional artwork education at Hampton Institute and Pennsylvania nation, he had his own and inventive step forward in 1957 whilst he spent six months within the newly self sufficient kingdom of Ghana. From this time ahead, he built-in African summary components together with his rural Southern photos to create a private iconography. His new technique made him recognized, as his own discovery of African history slot in good with the starting to be U.S. civil rights move. he's top recognized for his work of art at Hampton collage, Winston-Salem college, and Texas Southern, however the drawings and lithographs that lie in the back of the work of art have obtained scant consciousness - in the past. Theisen interviewed Dr. Biggers over the past 13 years of his existence, and was once welcomed into his studio innumerable instances. jointly, they chose consultant works for this quantity, a few of that have now not been formerly released for a normal viewers. After his dying in 2001, his widow persevered to paintings heavily with Theisen, leading to a booklet that's intimate and informative for either the student and the coed.
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Additional info for A Life on Paper: The Drawings And Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers
The following photograph (ﬁg. 17) shows his colleague Joe Mack, Dr. Lowenfeld, and John Biggers at that time. ﬁgure 16 John Biggers in his ofﬁce at Texas Southern, with his sculptures 1950 President R. O’Hara Lanier of Texas State University for Negroes had been an administrator at Hampton Institute in the early 1940s. He had known of John Biggers’s abilities. Lanier was eager to see an art department on his campus and promised his full support. He soon hired two more Hampton graduates: Joseph Mack, a painter, and Carroll Simms, a sculptor and potter.
Nobody wants to talk about that anymore … but what’s wrong with our folklore? ”26 Dreaming of Africa when he was young, Biggers applied for a UNESCO fellowship in 1955 to make such a trip. The colonial era in Africa was ending, and the United Nations program was interested in having traditional life and culture in Africa recorded. After two years with no word, UNESCO suddenly approved the fellowship. They were notiﬁed that they had two months to prepare for their six-month visit. John and Hazel Biggers were to be in Ghana by July 1, 1957.
Throughout 1943 and 1944, Biggers kept a sketchbook that was recently rediscovered by his wife, Hazel. These small early 1943 sketches give some insight into his thoughts for future paintings and drawings. He had great respect for his mother’s work at the ironing board and the wash tubs, doing laundry for others (ﬁg. 8). This sketch gives a picture of his early home: clapboard walls, a ﬁreplace for heat, kerosene lamp, a basket of ironing, and a heavy ﬂatiron (no electric wiring) and ironing board, the laundrywoman’s tools of the trade.
A Life on Paper: The Drawings And Lithographs of John Thomas Biggers by Olive Jensen Theisen