In the next in our 12 for 12 Columbus Bicentennial series honoring Columbus artists from our permanent collection, we highlight photographer Kojo Kamau.
Throughout his life, Kojo Kamau has made major contributions to the vitality of the arts in Columbus. His photographs chronicle Columbus not only as his home, but also as a cultural, artistic, and political crossroads. For five decades, his work has detailed a changing landscape, acknowledging the troubled political and social history of African Americans, but always through a positive lens. Community, travels, portraits of artists and musicians, both local and international, and social issues are constant themes. Kojo was greatly inspired by Elijah Pierce, whom he photographed numerous times (as you can see in the above picture). In addition to his photographic work, Kojo has been an essential, avid activist and supporter of the arts. In 1979 he and his late wife, Mary Ann Williams, founded Art for Community Expression (ACE), a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the work of African-American artists.
Born Robert Jones in 1939, in 1970 he changed his name to Kojo Kamau, which means “unconquerable quiet one” in Yoruba, one of the many languages spoken in West Africa. He attended the Rochester Institute of Technology, The Ohio State University, and the Columbus College of Art and Design to study photography. From 1964 until 1994 Kojo was the chief photographer for The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Currently he teaches photography at Columbus State Community College.
(Above: Pierce Painting a Carving in His Shop by Kojo Kamau from the Columbus Museum of Art permanent collection).
Art Speaks. Join the Conversation.