Art in our Midst: Columbus - African American Sculptors to Know
11 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).
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. She is the Chair of Youth Advisory with Graffiti Heart, a non-profit arts organization dedicated to revitalizing the community and funding the artistic education of youth. In 2019 she worked with the Sculpture Center as an intern to manage and expand the Ohio Outdoor Sculpture database.