OOS Tour

Culture & Beyond: The African American Sculptors Tour

10 Locations / Curated by Destyni Green

Historically, African American and other minority artists have faced erasure from the field of fine arts. African-Americans have been left out of the canon of art history, and their work has been purposely ignored because of a false understanding that it has not been important enough to the progression of art. Eurocentric art history brings in a few recognized African American artists and movements such as Jacob Lawrence of the Harlem Renaissance and contemporary artist Kara Walker. However, there is little mention of African Americans artists in art history. In the 1970s, African American artist, Kerry James Marshall, was struck by the lack of black artists in the canon. The history of art is rich in diversity, however textbooks and other educational resources have lightened black people in paintings, removed them during restorations and cropped out of text book images. Kerry James Marshall has spent his career as an artist fighting erasure and doing his best to correct the absence of black artists in western art history. It is a goal here by the curator, Destyni Green, to correct the absence here in our very own database.

This tour highlights the works of the following African American sculptors: Omar Shaheed, Baba Olugbala, Andrew F. Scott, Charles McGee, and Melvin Edwards. Each artist in this tour not only celebrates the African American culture, but also goes beyond this subset. These sculptors and their works contribute heavily to the arts, engaging African-American viewers and allowing fellow artists to understand their contribution to the arts. Pay close attention to the descriptions for each piece, as they touch more on these themes.

The tour starts at Andrew F. Scott’s “Baobab Tree and Adinkra Fence” and ends with Charles McGee’s “Life Force”. The tour is organized by proximity, starting at the Kwanzaa Playground in Columbus, moving towards the King Arts Complex of Columbus, taking off towards Downtown Columbus and finally ending with “Life Force” in Wilberforce, OH. Driving would be the best option, for this tour has multiple locations, however you may walk to some (Such as the Andrew F. Scott pieces at King Arts Complex).

Curatorial Bio

Destyni Green is a fiber artist and creative writer living in Cleveland, Ohio. Her artwork consists of fiber/textile works and jewelry work dedicated to the cultural history of Black and Puerto Rican people. She works through the process of writing personal essays and/or poems and creating pieces of art based off of the written worlds.

Destyni’s work branches further into the art community of Cleveland. . Her achievements consist of her role as Chair of Youth Advisory with Graffiti Heart, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to revitalizing the community and funding the artistic education of youth. She has also worked with the Sculpture Center in 2019 as an intern to manage and expand the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture database.

Locations for Tour

The Baobab Tree and Adinkra Fence are two of artist Andrew F. Scott's wonderful contribution to the Kwanzaa Playground. The playground sits in the Old Town East neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio. According to Scott's…

This limestone sculpture by African American sculptor Omar Shaheed depicts a male saxophone player back-to-back with a singing woman. According to the artist, this piece strongly refers to the Jazz Era in Columbus as well as the…

'The Family' is limestone sculpture of an African American family sculpted by Omar Shaheed, an African American sculptor from Columbus Ohio. Shaheed states that this sculpture refers to the black family in the ghettos,…

A metal sculpture of an Akua'ba (fertility figure) by Andew F. Scott. This type of figure was originally used by the Akan people of Ghana. The figures would normally be carved in wood and take on the idealized appearance of…

A metal sculpture of a two-faced figure embedded evenly with nails. The figure represents a Nkisi Nkondi (also known as a power figure, or fetish figure), a type of sculpture seen from the Kongo people of Africa. The figure holds…

This limestone sculpture was sculpted by African American sculptor Omar Shaheed (artist featured in photo) and depicts a family or group gathered together outside of Grant Medical Center in Columbus, Ohio. The figures are…

31-foot steel gavel on a steel sound block in the south reflecting pool outside the Ohio Supreme Court. Made completely from stainless steel It is the largest gavel in the world. The sculpture was commissioned by the Ohio State…

'Life Source' is a steel sculpture by African American Detroit artist Charles McGee. This piece is McGee's take on the quote ''big is the head that thinks and drinks deep from the spigot of eternal…