The central Ohio community, and the nation, mourns the loss of Columbus artist Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, who died on May 22 at age 75. For more than sixty years, Aminah Robinson created art inspired by the African concept of Sankofa, understanding the past in order to go forward. Her work reflects the drawing, paper-making, and needlework traditions that she learned from her parents and the training she received in art school. Aminah created sculpture, large complex work she called RagGonNons, rag paintings, paintings on cloth, drawings, and books about her family and community, African-American history, her travels, and the stories she was told by her elders. Her goal was to inspire others to research and document the history of their families and communities for the next generation.
In 2002, CMA organized Symphonic Poem, the first retrospective exhibition of her work, which traveled throughout the United States. In 2004, Robinson participated in a residency in Santiago, Chile where she was the first woman artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Also in 2004, Aminah was awarded a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship, given to individuals with extraordinary originality and dedication to creative pursuits. In 2008, the Museum launched Aminah’s World, an online resource where visitors can learn about Aminah and her work and create their own online art. Her last exhibition at CMA was Songs for a New Millennium, 1812 – 2012: Works by Aminah Robinson Celebrating 200Columbus. Her work has also been presented at Akron Art Museum, the Oakland Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem and museums and galleries around the world.
“Aminah was a beloved part of the Columbus community and the Museum family. She was a passionate artist and teacher, as well as a gifted storyteller. She had a deep reverence for her community history and cherished the oral histories that were passed down to her through her family. Through her art she recorded and shared those memories in ways that were just as beautifully complex and layered as the stories and communities they represented.”
– Nannette Maciejunes, CMA executive director
Watch for details soon of a celebration of Aminah’s life on July 18, 2015.
Credit Line: Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s “The Birthplace Home of GT Woods” from the 2012 exhibition Songs for a New Millennium, 1812 – 2012: Works by Aminah Robinson Celebrating 200Columbus