Akili Ron Anderson: A Fifty Year Retrospective of Black Art and Life

June 23, 2016

Hampton University Museum
July 9 – November 18, 2016
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Saturday, September 10, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Main Changing Gallery and Blue Gallery

“Art is cultural expression. As an artist I endeavor to realize my humanity and celebrate my ancestors and the creator through my skills, feelings, and insights as a full time practicing artist. I am a person of African heritage, born in America. I pridefully utilize my ethnicity to live, learn and envision imagery that utilizes historical precedents to realize future triumphs. I seek the mysteries and realities that validate and embolden African people, to a status of full world citizenship, with all the powers and responsibilities that accompany that position.”

Akili Ron Anderson, an outstanding craftsman with an imagination and a visual language that is not only aesthetically beautiful but cultural strong will be featured in the Hampton University Museum from July 9 – November 18, 2016. Entitled Akili Ron Anderson: A 50 Year Retrospective of Black Art and Life, this exhibition will examine the artist’s ability to effectively communicate his understanding and love of Black Art and Black Culture. This survey of his life’s work will reveal to all his ability to paint in all paint mediums; to excel in printmaking, sculpture – experimenting with wood, ceramics and found objects; and above all, his ability to create the magnificent and monumental stained glass commissions. Akili’s art speaks “Loud and Clear.” We know, and he knows, that what he is doing “works.”

A lifetime resident of Washington, D.C., he has successfully practiced as a full time visual artist since 1980. Mr. Anderson created art for the visual enhancement needs of cultural, religious and public institutions. His designs, fabricates and installs stained glass windows, sculptural forms, fine art paintings and theater sets. He is also well versed in still photography, cinematography, computer graphics, special effects and multi-media presentations. Anderson has been an active member of AfriCOBRA since 1979. AfriCOBRA is an organization that inverted the conventional meaning of “bad.” In the context of AfriCOBRA, “bad” means bold; “bad” means aesthetic integrity, and a certain artistic and social commitment.

Mr. Anderson graduated from Cardoza High School in 1964. He attended the Corcoran School of Art and Howard University School of Arts and Science, Division of Fine Arts (1965-1969) and (2005 -2008). He obtained his BFA and MFA from Howard University in 2008. He was the first chairperson of the Visual Arts Department at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, co-founder of Nation House Organization (Watoto School) and has held many other honors. He is currently teaching full time in the department of Art at Howard University.

This retrospective will span 50 years of art making by Anderson including paintings from Junior High School. Luckily Mr. Anderson’s mother kept much of his early work giving us an opportunity to see how his genius began at an early age.