Category Archives: Tunde Folawiyo Art

Tunde Folawiyo | African Art: The Renowned Works of Tracey Rose

Tunde Folawiyo The thrilling world of African art boasts countless brilliant talents whose creativity has resulted in some of the greatest works the world has ever seen. Through a variety of extraordinary media, today’s African artists have portrayed a range of significant social issues in their magnificent creative works.

Today’s African artists continue to forge an impact on the art world and society as a whole. Tracey Rose is among those who have made a great impact in the way the world views race. Best known for her powerful performances, photographs and video installations, Rose and her renowned works of art continue to inspire collectors of African art like Tunde Folawiyo and many others throughout the world.

Though she now lives in the South African city of Johannesburg, Rose was born in 1974 in Durban, South Africa. She attended Johannesburg’s University of the Witwatersrand where she obtained a BA in Fine Arts in 1996. Teaching at schools such as Vaal South Africa’s Triangle Technikon and the University of the Witwatersrand, Rose was named artist-in-residence in Cape Town in February 2001. Her brilliant work for Venice’s 2001 Biennale was curated by Harald Szeemann.

In the first few years of her career, after graduating, Rose focused on investigating the roles of gender and colour through visual motifs using her own body and body hair. In one of her most well-known works, Rose used surveillance cameras in order to film herself as she shaved off her body hair. She described the act as “about both demasculating and de-feminising” her body.

In the 2nd Johannesburg Biennale, Rose presented the works Span I and Span II at a show curated by Colin Richards. These works portrayed Rose sitting with a shaved head displaying a close-up image of a nude reclining. She is seen knotting strands of her own hair. Taking place in a glass cabinet, the work dealt with Rose’s struggle with beauty, proving a powerful performance for African women all over the world. She referred to the work as a “cleansing, a coming out”.

As Tracey Rose and other African artists continue to bring forth new, innovative works into the art world, Tunde Folawiyo and other collectors of African art may continue to be inspired by these powerful displays of social issues that may continue to impact the world for years to come.


Tunde Folawiyo | The History of the William E. Harmon Foundation

Tunde Folawiyo Established in 1926, the William E. Harmon Foundation is cemented in history as one of the first organisations seeking to honour the works of African American artists of the era. Aside from regularly showcasing works created by African Americans, the foundation continually awarded the most talented among them, forging an impact in the battle for equal rights. Art enthusiasts with an appreciation for African art, such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others, may be fascinated by the history of the William E. Harmon Foundation and how its existence came to be.

Upon its creation, the foundation established by real estate developer William Elmer Harmon was intended to support noble causes such as biblical films, nursing programs and playgrounds. However, over time, the foundation’s mission became to recognise the talented works of the era’s African American artists. Mary B. Brady served as director of the Harmon Foundation from its start in 1922 until its end in 1967.

Raised in the Midwest, Harmon’s upbringing undoubtedly played a role in his attitude toward African Americans, a race that often faced discrimination at the time of the foundation’s establishment. After one day meeting a black artist unable to sell his works of art due to racial prejudice, the Harmon Foundation formed a new mission, striving to honour the outstanding works of some of the era’s most promising talents.

The year 1925 saw the beginning of this new direction for the Harmon Foundation and its supporters. With this, the foundation sought to reward African Americans for achievements in eight fields, including education, fine arts, business, literature, music, race relations, religious service and science. Walter White, Claude McKay and Langston Hughes are among the award’s many renowned recipients.

Upon the foundation’s closing in the 1960s, it distributed its wide art collection amongst several institutions with Smithsonian’s American Art Museum among them. The AA/PG Library also holds many of the foundation’s rare exhibition catalogs dating back to the 1920s.

The world of African art is ever changing with new and innovative creations coming to fruition at every turn. As the genre of this art progresses, art enthusiasts such as Tunde Folawiyo may be fascinated by the tales of famed African artists of the past. Whilst years have passed since its creation and closing, the immeasurable impact of the Harmon Foundation’s mission to garner admiration for African art remains one of the most significant strides for the genre today.