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2018 Anne Hill Blanchard: Uncommon Artists Lecture

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American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square

New York, NY 10023

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New Research on Self-Taught Art of the Caribbean

Barbara Paca on Frank Walter

Nancy Josephson on Myrlande Constant

Jacqueline Bishop on Kemel Rankine

The 2017 Anne Hill Blanchard Uncommon Artists Lecture will explore new research on self-taught art of the Caribbean. Speakers include Barbara Paca on Antiguan artist Frank Walter; Nancy Josephson on Haitian artist Myrlande Constant and Haitian Vodou Flags; and Jacqueline Bishop on Jamaican artist Kemel Rankine. Following the lecture, self-taught Jamaican artist Sane Mae “Mama Laine” Dunkley will demonstrate her mat-making techniques and discuss her process with Jacqueline Bishop. Coffee and pastries to start.

The Anne Hill Blanchard Uncommon Artists Lecture Series highlights new and important contributions to the field of folk and self-taught art. The annual series honors the late Anne Hill Blanchard, an inspiring and passionate leader in the field and a devoted supporter of the American Folk Art Museum.


Barbara Paca currently serves as the Cultural Envoy to Antigua and Barbuda. In that capacity, she is working as the Curator for Antigua and Barbuda’s inaugural National Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia. Paca was educated as an art historian and landscape architect, with a Ph.D. From Princeton University and many postdoctoral fellowships, including a Fulbright Scholarship and membership at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Paca is author of Frank Walter, The Last Universal Man (2017); Ruth Starr Rose: Revelations of African American Life in Maryland and the World (2015); and the Frank Walter Catalogue for 2013 at Art Basel, Miami Beach. Other professional realm involves 30-year operation of a landscape architectural firm. Paca works on a global scale, using her knowledge of horticulture and history to anchor private residences to the land, in an appropriate manner. She also works on large-scale public projects to develop a new aesthetic, promoting the use of native plants, cutting-edge environmental conservation, historic preservation, accessibility, and community building.

Jacqueline Bishop teaches in the School of Liberal Studies at New York University; is the founding editor of Calabash: A Journal of Caribbean Art & Letters; and the author of The River's Song, a novel about growing up in Jamaica, among other books. She has twice been awarded Fulbright Fellowships, including a year-long grant to Morocco. Visit www.jacquelineabishop.com to learn more.

Sane Mae “Mama Laine” Dunkley (b. 1954, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica) her mother died when she was around four years old and the artist was raised until she was thirteen years old by a cousin in St. Elizabeth, before returning to live with her maternal grandmother. At eighteen years old, she moved to Kingston, where she has lived ever since. As a child, the artist remembers seeing a male cousin making the bright colorful mats that she now makes, and interestingly this cousin, she reports as well used to make beautiful embroidery. Mama Laine’s cousin made an indelible impression upon her and because of him she started making mats and tapestries. Her mats and tapestries are notably colorful and full. Mama Laine sees herself as part of a tradition in which people, especially women, have made beauty out of little and nothing. One of her main goals is to honor and give value to this art tradition.

As an artist and musician, Nancy Josephson became engaged in the culture of Haiti first through connection with the artwork, particularly drapo vodou, or Voodoo flags. These vibrant, sparkly narratives hit a chord that compelled her to travel to the island in the late 80’s. Once there, she was introduced to the flag makers and the spiritual communities represented in the iconography of the flags. Over a period of 10 years and many trips to Haiti, the connections to individual artists grew. She captured many of their stories and unique styles in her book, Spirits in Sequins: Vodou Flags of Haiti (published by Schiffer Publishing in 2007). Her artwork, in consort with her spiritual life, continues to reflect the love bound to Vodou.

Image (Detail): Myrlande Constant (b. 1968), Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Vodou Banner: Milocan Tous Les Saints Tous Les Morts, c. 2000. Sequins and beads on fabric, 42 ½ x 56 ½”, Gift of Robert Brenner, 2012.3.1. American Folk Art Museum. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

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American Folk Art Museum

2 Lincoln Square

New York, NY 10023

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