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Oakley Holmes lectures at the University of Connecticut

 Digital Record


  • 1977 February 15


Painter, sculptor, and art historian Oakley Holmes delivered 2 lectures that can be found on 3 reels (1 is a copy).

In his 1977 lecture, Holmes stressed that African-American art is not based on 1 style or mode of thought; it is as varied as the many personalities that produce such works. He emphasized that white artists or artists of other colors also encounter great difficulties, but black artists have always found themselves at greater disadvantages.

Holmes informed students about black painters such as Robert Duncanson, John James Audubon, Edward Bannister, and Henry O. Tanner. He discussed black sculptors like Edmonia Lewis and Charles Alston whose bust of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was the 1st image of an African-American displayed at the White House.

His 90 minute lecture addressed the difficulty black artists have in gaining art teaching positions and getting their work into prestige galleries. He asked students whether they saw ancient Egyptian art as ancient African art and advocated that textbooks and art history lectures need to recognize the importance of black artists in world art history. Holmes lamented how for too long students must go out of their way to find sources that highlight the influences of black artists. He closed his presentation with a slide show displaying the works of many different black artists.

Holmes spoke on 2/15/1977 (2015-0002/RR4) and on 3/26/1974 (2015-0002/RR185 copy 1) (2015-0002/RR186 copy 2)

Existence and Location of Originals

Original audio recordings reside in the University of Connecticut, Black Experience in the Arts Collection, Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US