NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 67

A slab of steel , a slab of fresh sawed pine , a bale of cotton , the mule-drawn process of extracting syrup from sugarcane , a bale of cut hay , molds filled with wet clay for making bricks : This has all contributed to my sense of materiality ; memory is trapped in the material . My historical reference in painting is the history of process and materiality . After fifty years of painting , I have discovered that identity , as dictated by sensibility , is inseparable from the paint as matter .
I was the first of my family to go directly from high school to college . After graduating from Dunbar High School , I received a small scholarship from the local Urban League and was offered a work-scholarship by Tuskegee Institute . I enrolled at Tuskegee in the fall of 1957 as a pre-med student and af-rotc cadet . I spent two years at Tuskegee and left abruptly , due to a ‘ cosmic revelation ’ to become an artist . I went further south to Southern University in Baton Rouge , Louisiana , as an art major . Southern University , located on the banks of the Mississippi River , was great — until I got involved with the student protests that closed down the school and escalated into a huge Civil Rights march through downtown Baton Rouge to the State Office Building . The violence and visceral hatred , which I experienced from the local White population is what drove me out of the South . In 1960 I took a Greyhound bus from New Orleans straight to New York City , just in time to take the test for the Cooper Union Art School . m
Black Monolith , V Full Circle : For LeRoi Jones A . K . A . Amiri Baraka , 2014 Acrylic on canvas 84 ” by 63 ” by 4 ”