African Diaspora in the Art of Miguel Covarrubias
Miguel Covarrubias â€“ Describing him as an internationally renowned artist would be modest.Â Miguel was a painter, caricaturist, choreographer, and curator among other things.Â In his home of TizapĂˇn, Mexico, this bright, curious, observant young man illustrated books that earned him a grant from the Mexican government and enabled him to move to New York City at the age of nineteen to further explore his talents.
As luck or talent would have it, Miguel found himself mingling in the circles of New York’s literary and cultural elite of the Harlem Renaissance.Â This led him to illustrating for highly acclaimed magazines such as Vogue, Vanity Fair, and Fortune.
Very innovative for his time, Miguel was the first artist to represent African Americans with dignity.Â He instantly fell in love with the Harlem jazz scene, which allowed him to capture the spirit of the Harlem Renaissance.Â His artwork pulsated with energy, passion, and glee as seen in his bright-colored painting Couple Dancing on the Beach With Three Percussionists in Background and his 1927 illustrated book Negro Drawings.
Taking frequent trips back to the south of the border, Miguel met and became confidante to Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.Â His early exposure to diversity and close relationships that he formed with men and women of all ethnicities and color, infused his artwork from African to Afro-Mexican and Afro-Cuban to African American themes.
Miguel Covarrubias was commissioned to paint six murals that symbolized the theme of Pacific Unity for the 1939 Golden Gate Exposition.Â One of these life-sized murals on display at the California African American Museum best represents his artwork in a greater context bridging the gap between people of all races.
You can see the African Diaspora in the Art of Miguel Covarubbias at the California African American Museum next to the Coliseum.Â Curator Mar Hollingsworth shared the intricacies of Miguel Covarrubiasâ€™ work with us opening our eyes to another world.Â The museum has the largest compilation of Miguelâ€™s work ever seen in the U.S.Â In fact, many of the pieces are on display for the very first time in the U.S.
This exhibit is a definite must-see.Â Luckily, you have time.Â The exhibit runs until February 26 and is always free.Â During this time, there will be other activities you can participate in to further connect with Miguel Covarrubiasâ€™ work.
For more information visit: http://www.caamuseum.org.Â California African American Museum: 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles 90037
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