This stunning piece is a good introduction into the work of Columbus, Ohio artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson (1940-2015). Using the materials of daily life—paper, pencils, fabric, trim, and buttons, she creates stunning compositions. The mixed media creation above serves as the cover of her book, The Teachings, about the role of spirituals in African American life. How could I not love someone who makes such creative use of buttons?
Robinson’s personal style is as austere as her work is vibrant. In all the pictures I found she wore unadorned black clothes. Often her only jewelry were her many ear rings. Her head was bald. Maybe she believed she had too much else to do to be distracted by getting dressed.
To call Robinson a multi-media artist is an understatement. She worked in painting, drawing, sculpture, quilting, and found object collage, sometimes all in one piece. A work she made documenting a Columbus neighborhood, “Along Water Street,” is 60 feet long.
Robinson’s Columbus home was her studio, with every room devoted to a different project. When she died, she donated everything to the Columbus Museum of Art. The museum now has an exhibit devoted to her home studio and her journals called Raggin’ On. Oh, how I wish I could go.
This month I’ve been devoting my blog to older African American women in celebration of Black History Month. At the outset I thought I would have a hard time finding sources, but I was really wrong. Just a little searching has opened up a wealth of resources and I learned a lot along the way. I hope you have also enjoyed the journey.