Port Hampton Gallery, Hampton History Museum – Opening Friday, August 19

In a new addition to the main galleries, a small but critical new exhibit will be presented in the Port Hampton Gallery on the first floor.  In this powerful exhibit, the Museum explores more deeply an important aspect of early Hampton history. In late August, 1619 the English privateer White Lion arrived at Point Comfort with a cargo of “…not anything but 20 and odd negroes” (John Rolfe, 1619) pirated from the Portuguese slave ship Sao Joao Bautiste’s cargo of 300-400 Africans meant for slavery in New Spain.  These were the first Africans to arrive in English speaking America.  The event is one of a handful that would define the path of the colonies that would become the United States of America. Within decades a series of court cases, laws, and traditions would define Africans as property- slaves – and change the course of America’s history.

Akili Ron Anderson: A Fifty Year Retrospective of Black Art and Life
July 9 – November 18, 2016
Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Saturday, September 10, 2016, 2:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Main Changing Gallery and Blue Gallery

Akili Ron Anderson is an outstanding craftsman with an imagination and a visual language that is not only aesthetically beautiful but cultural strong. Akili Ron Anderson: A 50 Year Retrospective of Black Art and Life will examine the artist’s ability to effectively communicate his understanding and love of Black Art and Black Culture. This survey of his life’s work will reveal to all his ability to paint in all paint mediums; to excel in printmaking, sculpture – experimenting with wood, ceramics and found objects; and above all, his ability to create the magnificent and monumental stained glass commissions. Akili’s art speaks “Loud and Clear.” We know, and he knows, that what he is doing “works.”

A lifetime resident of Washington, D.C., he has successfully practiced as a full time visual artist since 1980. Mr. Anderson created art for the visual enhancement needs of cultural, religious and public institutions. His designs, fabricates and installs stained glass windows, sculptural forms, fine art paintings and theater sets. He is also well versed in still photography, cinematography, computer graphics, special effects and multi-media presentations. Anderson has been an active member of AfriCOBRA since 1979. AfriCOBRA is an organization that inverted the conventional meaning of “bad.” In the context of AfriCOBRA, “bad” means bold; “bad” means aesthetic integrity, and a certain artistic and social commitment.

Mr. Anderson graduated from Cardoza High School in 1964. He attended the Corcoran School of Art and Howard University School of Arts and Science, Division of Fine Arts (1965-1969) and (2005 -2008). He obtained his BFA and MFA from Howard University in 2008. He was the first chairperson of the Visual Arts Department at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, co-founder of Nation House Organization (Watoto School) and has held many other honors. He is currently teaching full time in the department of Art at Howard University.

This retrospective will span 50 years of art making by Anderson including paintings from Junior High School. Luckily Mr. Anderson’s mother kept much of his early work giving us an opportunity to see how his genius began at an early age.