(November 20, 2012)

Meadows Museum presents gallery talk with author Tom Whitehead

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary's Meadows Museum will host a gallery talk Sunday, December 2 at 2:00 p.m. with author Tom Whitehead on the life of Clementine Hunter. A book signing of his new book, Clementine Hunter: Her Art and Life, will immediately follow. The event is free and open to the public.

cover of Clementine Hunter: Her Art and Life

Clementine Hunter (1887-1988) painted every day from the 1930s until several days before her death at age 101. As a cook and domestic servant at Louisiana's Melrose Plantation, she painted on hundreds of objects available around her—glass snuff bottles, discarded roof shingles, ironing boards—as well as on canvas. She produced between five and ten thousand paintings, including her most ambitious work, the African House Murals. More than a personal record of Hunter’s life, her works also reflect the social, material, and cultural aspects of the area's larger African-American community.

Drawing on archival research, interviews, personal files, and a close relationship with the artist, Tom Whitehead and co-author Art Shiver offer the first comprehensive biography of Hunter in Clementine Hunter: Her Art and Life. Shiver and Whitehead trace Hunter’s childhood, her encounters at Melrose with artists and writers, such as Alberta Kinsey and Lyle Saxon, and the role played by eccentric plantation historian François Mignon, who encouraged and promoted her art. The authors include rare painting and photographs to illustrate Hunter’s creative process and discuss the evolution of her style.

Whitehead was a personal friend of Hunter and has written and spoken widely on the artist. Both he and Shriver co-edited Clementine Hunter: The African House Murals. A professor emeritus of journalism at Northwestern State University, he now serves that university’s president as a consultant on special projects.

Whitehead introduced Shiver to Clementine Hunter in the early 1970s. Following a career in television broadcast news and station management, he continues to write on subjects ranging from poetry to technology.

Clementine Hunter: Her Art and Life is available through LSU Press.

The Meadows Museum of Art is open to the public free of charge. For more information and hours, visit the Museum online or call 318.869.5169.

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