Thelma Johnson Streat: Multi-Talented Artist & Trailblazer

Thelma Johnson Streat was a distinctive and multi-talented artist that emphasized intercultural appreciation. One of her most recognized artworks, Rabbit Man, can be seen permanently at the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art). Thelma Johnson-Streat also worked with other iconic artists such as Diego Rivera and she was the first African-American woman to have a painting exhibited at the MOMA in 1942 & her own television program in Paris. Streat was a mixed-media artist, who not only created paintings but also wanted to end stereotypes and prejudice through dance. She performed cultural dances and songs for many children in Europe, Canada, U.S, & Mexico to help them gain an insight & appreciation for cultural diversity. Although she was threatened by ignorant terrorist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan, Streat did not let this prevent her from expressing herself and emphasizing much needed truthful messages within her creations such as ”Death of A Negro Sailor ” & ”The Negro’s Contribution to Medicine and Veterinary Science”. She also created an educational visual program called ”The Negro in History.” Thelma Johnson-Streat (1911-1959) is an artist and innovative story teller that should not be forgotten. Her artistic expressions and educational works are inspirational and interesting. Here are a few of her acclaimed artworks.

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The Negro’s Contribution to Medicine and Veterinary Science, c. 1945

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Thelma Johnson Streat artwork, title

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Rabbit Man, 1941

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Thelma Johnson Streat Photographed Posing

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Retrospective: Memorable Artworks of Ernie Barnes

One of Ernie Barnes most famous paintings is The Sugar Shack, which has been used by Marvin Gaye for his legendary album cover I Want You and for the 1970’s syndicated classic show Good Times. The 90’s rap group Camp Lo also paid homage to the original painting with their album cover for the acclaimed Uptown Saturday Night (which included ”Luchini AKA This is It” song). Before Ernie Barnes was a painter, he was a professional football player that played from 1959-1965 for teams such as The Denver Broncos & The San Diego Chargers.  Of course, Ernie Barnes (1938-2009) also created other memorable paintings that are just as noteworthy as The Sugar Shack. Here are some of my favorite Ernie Barnes paintings.

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”The Advocate” by Ernie Barnes

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”His Effort” by Ernie Barnes

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”Room Ful’A Sistahs” by Ernie Barnes

”The Buffalo Soldiers”by Ernie Barnes

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Sugar Shack Painting by Ernie Barnes for  Marvin Gaye’s ”I Want You”

Ernie Barnes photographed painting

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Ernie Barnes photographed behind his artwork

A Retrospective: The Amazing Artworks of Jacob Lawrence & William H. Johnson

Here are some of my favorite artworks by two remarkable artists that have contributed greatly to the art world & society alike. Whether the focus is the Harlem Renaissance, love, War, the notorious chain gang, modernist illustrations of everyday life, serene nature or self portrait/reflections…each of these artworks are truly enthralling. While Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000) was considered a modernist/social realist artist by some, Lawrence himself considered his creations ”dynamic cubism”. William H. Johnson (1901-1970) created artwork with evolving styles, ranging from realism, expressionism, and folk-style. I love how the artists’ creations have vivid colors to create realistic stories & settings in their paintings that are a part of not just African American experience, but America’s history as a whole… diverse settings/stories that real people have experienced in the 20th century. These artworks, many now on display at art museums such as the Smithsonian & Metropolitan  , are important expressions that definitely deserve continued acclaim.

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Jacob Lawrence ”The Library”

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The Strike by Jacob Lawrence

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William H. Johnson Self Portrait

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”Teheran Conference” by William H. Johnson

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Jacob Lawrence Self Portrait

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William H. Johnson

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William H. Johnson ”Training For War”

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Jacob Lawrence Migration Series

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Jacob Lawrence ”The Swearing In”

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William H. Johnson ”Chain Gang”

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William H. Johnson

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William H. Johnson ”Off to War”

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”The Lovers” Jacob Lawrence