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People may ask what other than a tornado can come out of Kansas Well Aaron Douglas was born of May 26 1899 in Topeka Kansas Aaron Douglas was a Pioneering Africanist artist who led the way in using African- oriented imagery in visual art during the Harlem Renaissance of 1919- 1929 His work has been credited as the catalyst for the genre incorporating themes in form and style that affirm the validity of the black consciousness and experience in AmericaHis parents were Aaron and Elizabeth Douglas In 1922 he graduated from the University of Nebraska School of Fine Arts in Lincoln Who thought that this man would rise to meet WEB Du Boiss 1921 challenge calling for the transforming hand and seeing eye of the artist to lead the way in the search for the African American identity Yet after a year of teaching art in Kansas City Missouri Douglas moved to New York Citys Harlem neighborhood in 1924 and began studying under German artist Winold Reiss His mentor discouraged Douglass penchant for traditional realist painting and encouraged him to explore African art for design elements would express racial commitment in his art The young painter embraced the teachings of Reiss to develop a unique style incorporating African- American and black American subject matter He soon had captured the attention of the leading black scholars and activistsAbout the time of his marriage on June 18 1924 to Alta Sawyer Douglas began to create illustrations for the periodicals Early the following year one of his illustrations appeared on the front cover of Opportunity magazine which awarded Douglas its first prize for drawing Also in 1925 Douglass illustrations were published in Alain Lookes survey of the Harlem Renaissance The New Negro Publisher Looke called Douglas a pioneering Africanist and that stamp of praise and approval for the artist influenced future historians to describe Douglas as the father of Black American art His fame quickly spread beyond Harlem
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