Artist John Biggers has been called, “a canvas master of the human condition.” He was born to a poor family of nine in Gastonia, North Carolina. By age 13, Biggers had lost both his father and sister to diabetes. As the youngest, Biggers and his brother were sent away to study at Lincoln Academy to release some of the burden endured by his widowed, single mother.
It was in 1941 that Biggers met his mentor, Victor Lowenfeld, a Jewish refugee from Germany, at Hampton University. Lowenfeld encouraged his students to study and paint African culture. Soon Biggers would be a part of one of the most prestigious exhibits at the Modern Museum of Art, but then he was drafted in the U.S. Navy in 1946, where he served before returning to get his PH.D. by 1954.
It was Biggers who used his experience and education to found an art department at Texas Southern University in 1949. In 1950, Biggers’ work was honored by the Houston and Dallas Museum of Art. However, he was banned from attending his own reception. But seven years later, he was granted a trip to Africa with a UNESCO fellowship, setting a precedent for other black artists. From his trip, he painted “The Web of Life in Africa” in 1962.
Biggers’ most famous piece was called the “Upper Room,” which recreates the Last Supper in a southern shotgun house, carried by strong black women. One interpretation is that females provide the strength on which faith is based, a faith that holds African American families together. Most, if not all of his paintings, would depict black life and struggle over the decades.
John Biggers was the father of 27 public murals, several of which were painted at Texas Southern University, but have since been demolished. His work has been displayed in Houston, Dallas, Hampton University and Penn State. His painting broke one gallery’s record in 2009, selling for $216,000. John Biggers died in 2001.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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