The Gallery Collection Includes Six Large Canvas Murals Comprising
Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries has a permanent collection of more than 400 paintings, sculptures, murals, and artifacts. The art collection is divided into three categories: Contemporary American, African American, and African. The most significant collection is the African American, which includes works by Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Hale Woodruff, Charles White, and Henry O. Tanner. The gallery collection includes six large canvas murals comprising the Art of the Negro by Hale Woodruff. The noteworthy series was painted in 1950-51 to provide images of black America’s cultural past to African American students.
Panel 1 interprets African icons found in cave paintings, masks, and sculpture. Panel 2 shows cultural exchange among Africans and Europeans. Panel 3 is a vivid reference to the burning of the city of Benin and the looting of its art by the British. Panel 4 depicts the relationship of African art and the art of Mayans, Aztecs, Native Americans, and other non-European cultures. Panel 5 shows the impact of African art on 20th century Western art. Panel 6 symbolizes the evolution of African art in the Western hemisphere as represented by 17 artists.