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Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries
223 James P. Brawley Drive S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30314
Voice: 404-880-6102

The Art of the Negro murals were painted by Hale Aspacio Woodruff (1900-1980) and consist of six canvas panels housed in the atrium of Trevor Arnett Hall. Woodruff, art professor and founder of the Atlanta University art department and permanent collections painted the series between 1950-1951. Woodruff intended to provide students of an historically black university, and its visitors, with images of black Americans' cultural past.

Panel One: Native Forms portrays interpretation various African icons found in cave paintings, sculpture and masks, and their relationship to cultural activities of African people. It implies an affinity African artists have with nature.

Panel Two: Interchange refers to the ongoing cultural exchange among Africans and Europeans, and the subsequent influences that shaped Western civilization.

Panel Three: Dissipation dramatizes the colonization and subjugation of Africa by European cultures with specific reference to the British burning of the city Benin in 1897 and the looting of all their art.

Panel Four: Parallels illustrates the relationships and commonalities among the ancient and traditional art forms of non-European cultures (i.e., Mayans, Aztecs, African, New Guinea and American Indians).

Panel Five: Influences conveys the impact of traditional art forms (assigning African art the central role) on the development of Western art in the 20th Century.

Panel Six: Muses symbolizes the involuntary marriage of African and European cultures and the evolution of the African artist (as represented in the center) in the Western hemisphere. Seventeen important artists of color who symbolize this cultural background represent Woodruff's notion including Iqueigha, 13th century sculptor, 20th Century primitive, Joshua Johnston, colonial portraitist; Henry O. Tanner, religious painter and Jacob Lawrence, a contemporary narrative serial painter.



Pictures and information were provided by Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries

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