Afro-Cubism, Oil Paintings by Milly

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Proposal to RLJ Resorts and Villas at Kendeja for mural by Milly Buchanan.

Transcript of Afro-Cubism, Oil Paintings by Milly

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  • AfroCubism O i l P a i n t i n g s b y M i l l | [email protected]

    February 23, 2009

    Dear Sir or Madam,

    Allow me to express the general excitement of the Liberian people, both in Liberia and here in the U.S., about the forthcoming RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas in Monrovia, Liberia this year. The resort, being built on the location of a culturally signicant site of Liberian heritage, the Kendeja Cultural Center, presents an ideal opportunity to connect with and represent the essence of hope and change through art and the aspirations of a "fusion people" in Africa, by commissioning one of Liberias foremost, talented and unique artists, Milly Buchanan.

    In reading Millys bio (enclosed), you will see why she is an ideal candidate to put an artistic stamp on the RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas and to bring a permanent representation of the strong ties of friendship between the Liberian and American cultural heritage at your resort in Monrovia. Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Milly was commissioned by the Liberian Government to immortalize the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) during its summit meeting of African heads of state, in Monrovia in 1979. The ensuing artwork, titled Birth of a Nation, still adorns the wall of the OAU in Monrovia. Progressive change in Liberia at the time was captured by the artist and architect's one-of-a-kind "Afro-Cubist" style, which represents the jagged path leading to peace, prosperity, and unity of all peoples and the violent emotional clashes that entails while pursuing freedom. What better time than now in the 21st century, to express the hope and change America has brought to the world and to all of those who sacriced their lives for their rights to a peaceful and prosperous world as depicted by Liberias rebirth after decades of civil war. To have such an artistic commemoration on the premises of your resort, would indeed raise the prole of the RLJ Companies as committed to development in Liberia, and as global partners of hope and change.

    In the attached PowerPoint and hard-copy presentation, you will nd images of Millys oil paintings from her Afro-Cubist collection Crying Out, which illustrate not only her dynamic style of painting in oils, but the challenging technique of the Italian 15th-century masters, known as chiaro-oscuro (light and dark layers of paint with up to six coats of paint).

    Please nd hereto attached a proposal for a custom-made mural, designed specically for any building at the RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas, which includes proposals on the concept, timeframe for execution/production, and typical cost estimates such a mural, based on past experience in Monrovia, and excluding other costs such as framing and mounting, which is usually done by the interior decorators.

    I am sure that after reviewing the enclosed information, you will see how RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas would not only be enhanced by the commissioning of this artist, but would reect its stalwart commitment to promote change in Liberia and hope for its people. Please feel free to call me at 443.570.5616 or email me at [email protected] with any questions.

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.


    Teri WeefurMultimedia producer,

    (I will be traveling to Liberia from February 24 to March 12, but will have access to email.)

  • Renaissance of a Phoenix RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas Public Art Project Form

    APPLICANT: Milly Buchanan | email: [email protected]

    Primary Contact (U.S.)Name: Teri Weefur* | ProducerAddress: 8707 Plymouth St., #4, Silver Spring, MD 20901Cell: 443.570.5616 | Email: [email protected]:*Please note that I will be in Liberia from Feb. 24 to Mar. 12)

    PROJECT TITLE Milly Buchanan Mural "Renaissance of a Phoenix" @ RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas

    PROJECT DESCRIPTIONAs a renowned Liberian artist, Milly Buchanan will design a custom-made painting for the premises of the RLJ Kendeja Resort & Villas in Monrovia (Liberia), representing the renaissance and renewal of Liberia in her characteristic Afro-Cubist style.

    CONCEPTUALIZATIONTwo-week timeframe, for submission by special postal delivery, of a black and white rendering ("India ink" etchings on "sen-nelier" pure cotton paper sheets), as technical specs of the 16'x8' or 20'x4' oil-painted mural. Considering that the essence of Afro-Cubism is based-on color vibrations, in harmony with the environment at the intended location, the artist would have to see some color designs/sketches/photos of the room or hall where the mural will hang.

    TIMEFRAME Total timeframe is six weeks, for submission in the USA of the nished oil painted mural, unframed.

    INSTALLATIONTo be undertaken in Monrovia by RLJ Companies' interior decorators

    MATERIALS * Approximately 50 tubes of "REMBRANDT/Talens" OIL-PAINTS for artists, or sucient for three (3) coats of painting * 10 brushes * 4 large bottles of matte nishing varnish * 2 rolls (10 meters/each) of pre-treated prime quality vellum canvas * 2 gallons of turpentine * 6 bottles of lindseed oil

    MAINTENANCEMinimum maintenance is expected, due to the humidity and salt air exposure at the Kendeja location, simply done by wiping the painted surface with a clean damp cloth on a monthly basis.

    COST OF MURAL (16'x8' OR 25'x4')Materials: $ 2,500Workmanship (Artist's fee): $10,500Delivery cost at the RLJ Companies' headquarters (U.S.): $500(60% downpayment on signing of contract: $8,100)GRAND TOTAL: 13,500

    Optional:Framing (probably in the States): $5,000Contingency expenses (Overruns): $2,000

    *The cost of Insurance/Freight from the States to Liberia and Handling of mural in Monrovia, will be borne by RLJ Companies.

  • Milly Buchanan was born in Monrovia, Liberia in 1944 to a German-Jamaican immigrant and a Liberian of Americo-Liberian descent. Milly's artistry began in Vevey, Switzerland, where her talent was rst noticed, at the age of 10, by a prominent Swiss artist, Guy Baer, who tutored a young Milly once a week for nearly a year, imparting his classical technique in oil painting, which still characterizes her work today.

    Her early work, mostly still-life, landscapes, and portraits, clearly followed the great European Masters of the 15th century, but Milly developed her personal style, called Afro-Cubism, in the late 60s. Reminiscent of Picasso, Braque and Modigliani, Afro-Cubism was her shattered-glass art expression of the socio-political turmoil in Liberia. The artistic epiphany occurred when a large mirror was shattered, and in the mirror's reection was an ebony carving of a woman's head. The broken glass reected the fragmented splinters of the statuette. Looking at the carving in its wholeness, and seeing her refractions in the shat-tered mirror, the images reminded Milly of the multifaceted emotions, experience and aspirations of each individual. The jagged edges of the reection served as a metaphor of life itself, and she would combine a cubist style with the beauty of Africa to create a personal style all her own.

    The 27 oil paintings in her "Crying Out" series are Milly's purest Afro-Cubist expressions and reected the social, political, and economic turmoil that engulfed Liberian society. The tumult drove Milly to other African countries in search of a common denominator to art forms, where she found additional inspira-tion as an artist.

    Truly a renaissance woman, Milly is also an architect, a UN conference interpreter and translator speaking ve languages (French, German, Italian, Spanish and English), and a former model (including September 1971 Ebony Fashion Fair poster-model, Essence magazine). Milly's extensive sub-Saharan Africa life, coupled with her personal and professional relationships with Africans from all walks of life (the late President Sekou Toure of Guinea to recording artists Hugh Masekela and Miriam Makeba to uncelebrated market women, students, farmers, and sherman) have produced a unique perspective from which to artistically represent the essence of the African struggle and spirit of resilience and hope. Milly is also a founding member of the Union of Liberian Artists an organization that creates a forum for the exchange of personal experiences in various refugee camps, motivates young self-taught artists to develop their skills, hosts art exhibits and promotes their works.

    Retired since 1998, and mother of ve adult children and twenty grandchildren, Milly now focuses all her time on painting. As she reects on her artistic track record over some ve decades, impressions of mind-set redirection, national reconciliation, and reconstruction in her native Liberia can easily be seen in the vibrant colors of Afro-Cubism.

    Milly Buchanan | painter

  • "Birth of a Nation"(16 x 8 mural, hanging at OAU Unity Conference Center, Monrovia, Liberia)

    Nearly a quarter of a century ago, Milly was commissioned by the Liberian Government to immortalize the creation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) during its summit meeting of African heads of state, convened in Monrovia in 1979. The ensuing artwork, titled Birth of a Nation, represents a child born under oppression in a village (his father is sent to work deep into the gold mines and his mother is "used" in the household of the oppressor). Because of the telltale amber color of his skin, this child is brought into the city to learn book. He nds his national identity and leads his friends into rebellion, is arrested by the state police, but breaks out of jail and brings peace (represented by the dove) and prosperity home (the travelers palm tree) to his people.

    Existing Murals by Milly

    The Settlers (25'x4' mural, presently hanging in the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia)

    Captured in Africa by slave traders, a young man is taken to America to work in the cotton elds in the South. Generations later, freed Christian slaves embark on the SS Elizabeth and sail back to Africa where they rst give praise to God for bringing them to "The Land of Liberty," then using their skills they build their capital city, named after the U.S. President James Monroe. One such Americo-Liberians, Joseph Jenkins Roberts, is sworn into Oce as the rst President of the Republic of Liberia, bringing peace and prosperity to all people of Negro descent.

    (not pictured)

  • The Lady BlueThe artist identies with her daughter, merging the features in an artistic cloning.

    The Prodigal SonThe artist welcomes her son from Zambia, after seven years of absence.

    The Return A young refugee returns home, dressed in

    a foreign outt while others look on.

    Afro-Cubism | oil paintings by Milly

    See the entire collection at

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