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On this date in 1927, Artis Lane was born. She is a Black Canadian sculptor, painter, and printmaker.
Born Artis Marie Shreve in North Buxton, Ontario, Canada, when she was six, she was kneeling in the clay of her grandmother’s farm and fashioning dolls. Ever since she has been capturing souls and conjuring them into images of unfolding life. A descendant of abolitionist, educator, and publisher Mary Ann Shadd, the soft-spoken painter and sculptor is an advocate for freeing the human spirit.
She attended the Ontario College of Art, Cranbrook Art Academy, and UCLA. She is primarily concerned with portraying what she sees as enduring spiritual truths. In all of Lane’s work, there is a mysterious tension between perfect realism, wrought by hands with an innate ability to duplicate nature, and some other difficult-to-explain. This transcendent quality takes her images out of any specific time, place, or historical context. Lane has an uncanny ability to imbue her sculptures with souls that reach out to the viewer.
The spirits of the subjects have lives of their own in her remarkable sculptures as well as in her other works. Artis Lane's works are among the collections of Bill Cosby, Oprah Winfrey, Linda Evans, Cicely Tyson, former President and Mrs. George Bush, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Poitier, former Mayor Maynard Jackson, Howard University, National Portrait Gallery (Smithsonian Institute), National Council of Negro Women, Mr., and Mrs. Gordon Getty, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Jordan, Mr. Steve Ross (Time-Warner), Mr. and Mrs. Ervin "Magic" Johnson, Quincy Jones, Mr. and Mrs. Walter Anneberg, Cary Grant, Nelson, and Winnie Mandela, Henry Kissinger and others. In the related video below, one of her works can be seen at the California African American Museum.
Married in 1949, Lane once commented, “Through years of study in metaphysics, the influence of Egyptian and African sculpture has surfaced in my work.”
Black Women in America An Historical Encyclopedia
Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine
Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York