Columbus Museum of Art

Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson: Ongoing Catalogue of Art and Exhibitions

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Curator’s comments

In 2002, in order to move this piece to the Columbus Museum of Art for Symphonic Poem, a retrospective exhibition of Aminah's work, carpenters had to enlarge the doorway in Aminah's home. She then carved and painted the large, wooden door that replaced the old one. The figures representing Aminah's extended community on the chair include woodcarver Elijah Pierce; Aminah's mother teaching crafts to the children; a figure (on the right arm) representing youth, "looking back but always moving forward"; elders looking outward; and Aminah's father (on the left arm) teaching the children. After her 1979 trip to Africa, Robinson added the seated figure of the Oba, a village chief, to the back of the chair. Boxes along the side hold the artist's drawing studies and tools. The figures carved in the leather seat represent the families who shape the community, and they are encircled and protected by a sacred serpent formed from the root of a tree.

Artist’s comments

I started this in 1974- I was trying to find furniture for my house. So I said, "I need to build a chair." I didn't really have the materials, so my father and friends gave me scraps. One of them gave me a root he found at Whetstone Park. I had no woodcarving tools, so I used a great big railroad spike and a hammer to chisel the wood. A friend who was a carpenter helped me put it together, and then I continued working on it at an arts festival, where I carved the leather as part of a demonstration. After the festival, I brought the chair home, and, as time went on, I added to it. It represents my family and community. That's what the chair is about- life in Columbus.

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