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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Conflicting interpretations in the biography of a modern artist of African descent
Author:Ottenberg, SimonISNI
Periodical:Journal of West African History (ISSN 2327-1876)
Geographic terms:Nigeria
United States
Subjects:women artists
visual arts
biographies (form)
About person:Suzanna Ogunjami Wilson
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/jwestafrihist.1.2.0045
Abstract:The author explores the uncertain history of the modern artist Suzanna Ogunjami Wilson, whose birth and death details are uncertain. She acquired a bachelor's and a master's in art education in 1928 and 1929, respectively, from Teacher's College, Columbia University, and from 1928 to 1934 she exhibited in the eastern United States, often with African Americans. If born in Nigeria of Igbo parentage, as all published accounts to the present attest, she would be the first African to exhibit modern art in the United States. If born in Jamaica, as U.S. Census records suggest, she would be the first Jamaican to do so. No actual birth records are available from either country. The author follows her marriage to a Sierra Leone Krio in New York City and their movement to that country, where she was the first person of African descent to exhibit modern art, and where she founded two children's art schools. Regardless of her birthplace, her remarkable record is important to African and African-American art historians and other scholars. Notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]