“Robinson was ‘a keen observer, an avid researcher, an archivist, and a griot.’ This catalog shows that she was also an alchemist, transforming discarded leather floor tiles into satchels and book covers, buttons and fabric fragments into stunning textile collages. Robinson believed ‘her art and writing would never end because each viewer or reader adds new perspectives.’ Readers will hope that this catalog is just the beginning.”
“(Raggin' On) does not feel like a book, or even like a compilation, but rather like a living, pulsating thing defying classification…. It’s a fitting fantasy for Aminah Robinson’s art (which is comprised of a) number of works staggering in quantity, color, texture, and power to reflect the Black experience with a rearranged nod to that community’s tragic transoceanic roots; the point of view, perhaps, more American African than African American.”
New York Journal of Books
“Besides its sheer visual pizazz, what’s compelling about Ms. Robinson’s art is that in its own garrulous, very personal way it ruminates on the history of black migration to, and settlement in, the United States from early times to the present.”
Grace Glueck, New York Times
The accompaniment to a landmark exhibition of MacArthur Fellow Aminah Robinson’s work, which revolved around her family and community, African American history, travel, and the stories her elders told her.
When Aminah Robinson died in 2015 and entrusted her entire estate to the Columbus Museum of Art, it became clear that her art, her house and its furnishings, and her extensive writings would constitute a compelling major exhibition and book. This catalog invites readers to enter Robinson’s house and engage with the art and journals the museum’s staff members have documented during the last five years.
Robinson embraced the concept of “raggin' on”—that her work will endure perpetually because each new person that encounters it will add new meaning. This exhibition’s title reflects the hope that the perspectives of visitors and readers will ensure Robinson’s work never ends. The book’s cover image represents Robinson’s Themba series, which consumed her for many years until the end of her life; it captures in dramatic fashion the complexity of both her own hopeful spirit and an inner rage that propelled her to write and make art.
Published to accompany a major exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art, November 19, 2020 – October 2021.
Carole M. Genshaft is curator-at-large at the Columbus Museum of Art and enjoyed a close relationship with Aminah Robinson beginning in the late 1980s. Since Robinson’s death in 2015, she has supervised the organization and documentation of the artist’s estate, which was left to the Museum. She has curated and co-curated many exhibitions about Robinson’s life and work, including Symphonic Poem, a retrospective of the artist’s work that travelled nationally in 2006. In 2018, she organized Kindred Spirits, an exhibition about the relationship between Robinson and her friend and mentor, folk artist Elijah Pierce. In addition to contributing articles about Robinson to many publications, Genshaft has written Aminah’s World, a children’s book about Robinson’s life and art. More info →
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Children explore the life and art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson by interpreting her work and conceptualizing their own world in a fun and entertaining way.
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