Apr 24th, 2010
I arrived at the African American Museum at approximately 11:45 am on Saturday April 24, 2010.
There were beautiful paintings of various art pieces from several African American artist. Unfortunately in order to protect the artist paintings I was not allowed to photograph in the art gallery. The art paintings were absolutely beautiful! There were plenty of paintings that depicted regular people. Some of the art were 3D made of painted wood. There was one painting of a grandmother with her grandchild sitting at a table just spending quality time together. The art pieces were so natural and full of life. Most of the art pieces were related to family, whether it was “Sisters in the Kitchen” (which was the name of one piece by Jennifer Ivey) or groups of family members. The art pieces looked so real yet something seem mystical about them. I only took pictures where I knew there wouldn’t be any paintings in order to respect the restrictions of the museum. The paintings show cased in the museum are by husband and wife artist. Each of the artist displays a unique talent that is evident when viewing the pieces. Emmett & Sheilah Wigglesworth’s paintings are full of a variety of colors, shapes and styles. Emmet’s work of art looks like a fusion that kind of meshes together while inter-twining in a variety of colors and shapes. Sheilah’s work has beautiful colors but her paintings are actual people that she painted mostly from photographs.
The picture shown below is inside the museum’s cafe right above the counter space. The cafe area was not opened for business and if it wasn’t for the director reclassifying the museum as I believe an education center it would of closed. Now it receives government funding so it has been able to sustain itself.
I was disappointed that it wasn’t any visitors to interview so I decided to get information from Monica who works at the museum and also the director. To my surprise however, as I was walking and viewing paintings, in walked Emmett and Sheilah Wigglesworth! We talked for about 2o minutes about some of the paintings and what motivated each of them to paint the pieces that were displayed. Emmett was part of the civil rights movement so his motivation is solely for preserving the African culture. He feels that the youth today have no idea who they are. He mentioned how they wear their pants down low thinking its part of who they are and its not. Sheilah’s work is very natural. There is a painting of two elderly women sitting on a bench. Much of her work is painted from actual pictures or sometimes people on the street. She has a beautiful painting of her mother when she was a little girl. There is a porcelain doll that her mother is holding and unfortunately Sheilah stated that her brother broke the doll so she doesn’t have it any more. She is currently taking care of her mother on a daily basis. The pictures painted by Mrs. Wigglesworth were from black and white photos, its amazing what the different colors have bought into the pictures. I wonder how the same paintings would look if she had kept it black and white. Both Emmett and Sheilah visit the museum often and invited me to attend a function happening in Brooklyn tomorrow. We had a great time together.
Below you will see a picture of both Emmett and Sheilah Wigglesworth, I was given their permission to post their picture on this blog.
The below painting is called “On the Carpet” by Emmett Wigglesworth. I obtained the picture from the below link:
I interviewed several neighbors and other African Americans and asked if they knew about the African American museum, a couple of them heard about it and others didn’t. Two of the individuals I interviewed express their love and appreciation for black art. I interviewed a young lady name Rachel who owns very expensive art pieces and actually knows prominent black artist. One of the artist who is displayed in the African American museum she knows very well and actually been to his house! She stated, “African American artist’s work is very valuable, sometimes it will range between $1,000 – $30,000 for one painting”. “People don’t understand that owning black art is an investment”. One of my neighbors wants to visit the museum as soon as possible while the current art pieces are on display. Rachel attends many art shows and events and has an aunt who is wealthy and owns very expensive paintings. Another African American I interviewed stated that she had no idea the museum was there and would like to at some point visit and possibly bring her sons.