American artist Benny Andrews to lecture on African-American art and experience at Fairfield University


Image: Benny Andrews paintingContemporary American artist Benny Andrews will consider how personal experience shaped the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., informs his own artwork and affects the lives of all individuals at a Tuesday, Feb. 4 lecture at Fairfield University. Andrews' talk, scheduled for 4:30 p.m. in the multimedia room of the DiMenna-Nyselius Library, is part of a semester-long celebration of African-American art.

Andrews is a nationally recognized collage artist, painter, printmaker, sculptor and illustrator whose work is part of the permanent collections of many U.S. museums. He has been the director of the Visual Arts Program at the National Endowment for the Arts and has taught at Queens College in New York. He strongly advocates bringing art to a larger, more diverse public and has been a leader introducing visual arts to prison populations.

Born in 1930 in Plainville, Georgia, Andrews was one of 10 siblings in a family of sharecroppers. As a youngster, he attended school only when he had finished his farm chores or if the fields were too wet to work.

The Andrews home offered a wealth of creative opportunities. Andrews started drawing at the age of three, learning from his father George Andrews, a self-taught artist who based much of his own work on his dreams and visions. Raised in a family of storytellers and readers, Benny Andrews was also encouraged to write stories, many of which he collected in handmade books.

Early on, Andrews realized that the people around him - from family and friends to town leaders and colorful characters - provided endless inspiration for his work, most of which combines oil paint and collage. Even now, his pieces are highly narrative, reflecting the history and culture of the United States as interpreted through his life experiences.

Andrews, who holds a bachelor of fine arts degree from the Chicago Art Institute, has pieces in the permanent collections of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, The Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., The Fine Art Museum of the South in Alabama and many other institutions. He will present slides of his work during his Fairfield University lecture.

Andrews' lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, call (203) 254-4000, ext. 2969

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 22, 2003

Vol. 35, No. 169