Artist: Dr. John Biggers (1924 – 2001)
Born: Gastonia, North Carolina
Education: Hampton University, Hampton, VA and Pennsylvania State University, University Park
Degree: Ph.D. Fine Arts
The late Dr. John T. Biggers first discovered his artistic talents when he was a small child. Every year, he and his brothers and sisters would recreate the town of Gastonia, NC out of the clay under their house, complete with streets and buildings, wagons, and cars, mules and horses, houses with lawns of moss, streams of real water, and Gastonia’s two seven-story skyscrapers.
Biggers was an artist with great versatility as a painter, sculptor, graphic artist, printmaker, muralist, and educator. His paintings and drawings hang in museums and private collections in the U.S. and Europe. Many of his works are widely considered to be the finest painted by any artist of his generation. He created works that draw upon the study of the arts, religion, the mysteries of Egypt and other African nations, and the experiences of African-Americans in the rural South to illustrate and celebrate the richness of diversity and the commonality of all human experience. He often was quoted in saying, "I'm not a big-city artist telling a big-city story; I'm a southern man telling a story about home."
His interest in African culture is reflected in the themes of his work.