For Immediate Release
October 28, 2011
Contact Information

Sonshine Communications
Tanisha Coleman
(305) 948-8063

(BPRW) The Art of Expression: The Influence of Art in the African-American Community

(BLACK PR WIRE) -- The manifestation of art in the African American community has been phenomenal. Since the latter part of the eighteenth century, African Americans have contributed to the art of American culture as painters, sculptors, printmakers and craftsmen. From dance, to literature, to music, we have gained recognition and respect for our work in all arenas.

African symbols of expressions are often interpreted as possessions of power, spirituality, or leadership. The importance of African art was appreciated as items of beauty. African-American sculptors, such as Richmond Barthe (1901-1989) and Lois Mailou Jones (1905-1998) were two of the first African-American visual artists to identify their creations as influences of African art. The two sculptures created by Barthe, the Blackberry Woman (1932) and the African Dancer (1932), were purchased by the Whitney Museum of American Art for its own collection in New York. Jones’ creation of Les Fetiches (1938) was considered one of the earliest directed art pieces toward African influences. She decided to choose and study different African masks before undertaking her creative task.

African expressions influenced many of the modern artists as well. Picasso and Matisse, were said to have been fascinated by the possibilities of utilizing African design concepts. Today, art has had such a profound impact that the Black public and mainstream America have started collecting African American fine art and decorative art, purchasing recorded African American music and books, attending movies and plays written and directed by African American musicians and dancers, and purchasing clothing and accessories designed by African American vendors.

As a result of this impact, many African Americans are committed to improving their knowledge and contributions to the arts. Students are so inspired, they are enrolling in Black Liberal Arts Institutions.  Without a doubt, the African American influence in the visual arts has been widespread… from early contributions by artists in the eighteenth century, to students enrolled in educational institutions. Even most major cities now boast about having a major museum or gallery which deals with African American history and culture. This is all made possible due to the explosion of African American influenced artistic activity in the 1960s and 1970s. 

The art of expression and influence in the African American community has definitely made a huge impression, and will continue to do so for many years to come.