SchoolArts Magazine

FEB 2019

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G 23 DA N I E L M I N T E R PA I N T E R A N D I L L U S T R AT O R L O O K I N G & L E A R N I N G Know Who You Are D aniel Minter is a painter, sculptor, illustrator, and art educator in Portland, Maine. As an African American, his art is dedicated to documenting and raising awareness of the African American experience. Like the artists of the Harlem Renaissance (1920s–1930s), Minter's work focuses on issues ranging from the African Diaspora (the dispersion of Africans from their homeland into slavery) to the history of every - day Black culture, expressed through contemporary art. Exploring the Personal, Historical, and Universal Minter's art weaves together elements of personal history with themes and historical events that reflect on the expe - riences of African Americans. His images of mystical, esoteric figures and everyday working people can be con - nected to the work of Charles White, John Biggers, Betye Saar, and traditional African textiles and woodcarvings. The complex installation, A Distant Holla (see pages 24–25), first exhibited in 2016, combines paint - ings, sculptures, woodcarvings, and assemblage, and was inspired by a dream Minter had in the 1980s. The installation directly references his Southern heritage, slavery, and the African American experience. Many of the repeated images—the rooster, brooms, and fish—are objects from Minter's dream that also have significance in African art. While A Distant Holla documents the triumph of the African American spirit, it also reminds the viewer of the weight of oppression Black people have faced throughout history. Water plays a large role in many of Minter's works. It is a traditional symbol of cleaning, life and birth, and also, the Yoruba water goddess Yemoja. His use of water references both the transportation of slaves from Africa (crowded into boats), and historical events such as the state-forced displacement of African American fisherfolk from Malaga Island, Maine, in 1912. About the Artist Minter was born in Ellaville in southern Georgia, and became interested in art as a child. He graduated from the Art Institute of Atlanta with a degree in graphic design and began exploring his experiences as an African American through art in the 1980s. After working in Seattle, Chicago, and Brooklyn, Minter and his family settled in Portland, Maine. Today he nurtures young art - ists of color with the Black Artists Forum; is a founding member of the Maine Freedom Trails organization (com - memorating the Underground Railroad); has illustrated eleven children's books, including one about Sojourner Truth; and is currently an instructor in illustration at the Maine College of Art. Top: Painter and illustrator Daniel Minter. Photo by C. Daniel Dawson. Bottom: Daniel Minter, Malaga Girl (Red), 2018. Part of the Malaga Island series. Images courtesy of the artist.

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