Pulling From Our Roots - Black Disabled Artists\Painters Then & Now
An art Show on Disabled Artists of color
Leroy Moore/ DAMO - PNN
Tuesday, January 14, 2003;
Inspiration from the past adds to the vision of Harambee�s 2003 KUUMBA Art Show (KUUMBA meaning creativity in Swahili) on Jan. 25th at Oakland Library, Eastmount Branch. The organizing around the first and hopefully annual KUUMBA Art show that will display paintings and other visual artworks from disabled African Americans have stimulate me to do some research on some well known African American painters of our times. By surprise I also found that three major African Americans Painters, Horace Pippin, William H. Johnson and Jacob Lawrence all experienced some type of disability that showed up in their paintings. These artists\painters all painted the struggles and beauty of their people during their times, Horace Pippin 1888-1946, William H. Johnson 1901-1970 and Jacob Lawrence 1917 -2000.
All three seemed to follow the same migration from the South to the East, New York City. In search of a community that will accept them as a Black man, an artist and they were all touched by and painted the poverty of the Depression Era, war and segregation of Black soldiers etc. Although they acquired their disability later in their life, their stories should be held up for disabled African American artists and youth. Their life, art and struggle to get known are medicine that heals my feelings of being alone as an outspoken, African American disabled artist\activist and gives me a history to pass down to young disabled African Americans.