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Renowned illustrator to serve as Africana Artist-in-Residence

Renowned illustrator to serve as Africana Artist-in-Residence
higgins bond

Nationally acclaimed illustrator and artist Barbara Higgins Bond will serve as UNC Charlotte’s 2012 Africana Artist-in-Residence.

During her residency, scheduled for Monday, Feb. 13, through Friday, Feb. 17, Higgins Bond will participate in the student-focused seminar “Interrogating Self: Redemption of Memory and Meaning in My Art” and will lead the faculty seminar “The Place of Visual Arts in the Africana Studies Curriculum.”

She also will deliver the public talk “The Making of National Icons: African-Americans on Postage Stamps” at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Fretwell Building, Room 113. The presentation is in conjunction with the weeklong exhibition “Blacks on Stamps” in Rowe Arts Side Gallery, which will feature Higgins Bond’s original paintings and illustrations. The opening reception is scheduled for 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 13.

“This illustrator is an accessible everyday artist,” said Akin Ogundiran, chair of the Africana Studies Department in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. “Yet, her creative oeuvre has profoundly influenced us through books and magazines, postage stamps and through those recesses of visualscapes around us.

“For close to 40 years, she has consistently demonstrated the communicative power of iconography in self-reflection and self-understanding at the national and international levels,” Ogundiran said. “Her residency will enrich our curriculum and raise new awareness about the intersections of the arts and Africana studies.”

A native of Little Rock, Ark., Higgins Bond earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Memphis College of Art. She has received numerous prestigious awards, including a medal of honor from then-Gov. Bill Clinton. Her work has been exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago. She is the illustrator of three stamps for the United States Postal Service and four stamps for the United Nations Postal Administration. Some of the largest collector plate companies have published her original images.

Higgins Bond’s clients include the Bradford Exchange, McGraw-Hill, Franklin Mint, NBC, Hennessy Cognac, Anheuser-Busch, Frito-Lay and Columbia House.  She has illustrated more than 37 books for children and adults and is an adjunct professor of illustration at the Nossi College of Art in Nashville, where she lives.

The Africana Studies Department, in collaboration with the College of Arts + Architecture and with the support of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, initiated the Africana Artist-In-Residence Program in 2009. Its goal is to showcase the work of artists and art critics whose original perspectives and creative energy advance a deep understanding of the experiences of Africana peoples worldwide.

Previous resident artists were T.J. Reddy, visual artist and civil rights activist (2009); Tayo Aluko, an award-winning soloist and singer known for his work on Paul Robeson (2010); and John Perpener III, a dancer, dance historian and scholar (2011).