November 2, 2011

African American artists' papers acquired by Emory

Illustration by J. Biggers for Lorenz Graham's 1966 book "I, Momolu."

Emory's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL) recently acquired two major collections related to African American art and art history: the papers of the late internationally recognized artist John Biggers and the late renowned arts patron Paul R. Jones.

Both acquisitions will be celebrated at a public event, "Art, Artists, and Archives: A Conversation with Hazel Biggers and Amalia K. Amaki," at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 in the Woodruff Library's Jones Room. Moderated by Professor Emeritus Richard A. Long, the event will address the importance of preserving papers related to artists and art history.

Panelists will include Hazel Biggers, through whose generosity Emory received the papers of her late husband. John Biggers traveled widely in Africa and studied African artistic and cultural traditions. This knowledge had a significant impact on his own work as a muralist, printmaker and painter.

Amalia K. Amaki, professor of modern and contemporary art history at the University of Alabama, also will participate in the symposium. She was instrumental in enabling Emory to acquire the gift of papers of Paul Jones. Jones' interests and life as a businessman, civil rights activist and collector are documented in more than 75 linear feet of manuscripts, photographs, audio and visual material and books.

The Biggers and Jones papers join the rapidly expanding collection of Emory's holdings of artists, art historians and art collectors. Among these are the papers of Benny Andrews, Camille Billops, Cedric Dover, Edwin Harleston, Samella Lewis and James A. Porter. Emory is becoming one of the leading institutions for research related to African American art and art history.

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