T he L ady B lue The artist identifies with her daughter, merging the features in an artistic “cloning.”
M aasai M ara The artist reflects about the fierceness of a man defending his home. The Maasai are a nomadic tribe in Kenya with vast landholdings where development dares not penetrate.
T he P rodigal S on The artist welcomes her son from Zambia, after seven years of absence.
S ande D ance In Liberia, the Sande Bush is a tribal society or “bush school” where girls are taught everything they need to know to enter into womanhood. The ceremonial dance, the “breaking bush” dance, is performed by girls graduating from the Sande school.
G enerations The artist paints the features of four generations of women---her mother, herself, her daughter and granddaughter---into one image.
D inka A young Dinka Warrior smiles candidly, poised as a crane. Colonel Khadafi is reputed to have female Dinkas as his personal bodyguards.
T he R eturn A young refugee returns home, dressed in a foreign outfit while others look on.
H umpty D umpty Allegory on the Americo-Liberian people, who “sat on the wall” in the aftermath of the 1980 military coup d’etat in Liberia, ushering the first aborigine Liberian into power as the Chairman of the People’s Redemption Council (PRC).
T he O ther S ociety Allegory on the “sons-of-the-soil” who took control of the government in Liberia, driving out the “Humpty-Dumpties” back to the United States.
A rtist S tatement Conflict, Contradiction and Consciousness: an artist’s evolution <ul><li>M illy Buchanan was born in Monrovia, Liberia in 1944 to a German-Jamaican immigrant and a Liberian aristocrat of Americo-Liberian descent. Milly’s artistry began in Vevey, Switzerland, where her talent was first noticed at the young age of 10, by a prominent Swiss artist, Guy Baer. In order to paint her portrait, Guy Baer gave her a sheet of paper and some charcoal-sticks and told her to draw the three eggs before her to keep her still---the portrait he painted of her, “Jeune Liberienne” was sold to the Jewish museum in Vevey. Thereafter, Guy Baer tutored a young Milly once a week for nearly a year, imparting his classical technique in oil painting, which still characterizes her work today. </li></ul>Click to Continue
A rtist S tatement Conflict, Contradiction and Consciousness: an artist’s evolution <ul><li>Her early work, mostly still-life, landscapes, and portraits, clearly followed the great European masters of the 15th century, but Milly would develop her personal style of Afro-Cubism years later. Reminiscent of Picasso, Braque and Modigliani---her favorite artists to date---Afro-Cubism was her shattered-glass art expression of the social-political turmoil in Liberia. </li></ul><ul><li>Milly uses the African concept of “Self”--- meaning oneself, within one’s tribe, and one’s culture and land---to express her observations as an artist. Her work became influenced and affected by the culturally uprooted society in Liberia, the practice of “converting the natives to democratization”, and her internal conflict of Christianity versus pagan ancestral worship. Her paintings vibrate with five or six layers of colors, a representation of the overlay of educated behavior atop the raw inner artist. And much of her work includes an “eye”, which represents witnessing the timeliness of art, a female breast indicating the progeny of art, and the “dove of spiritual peace” as the Holy Ghost. </li></ul><ul><li>The 27 oil paintings in her “Crying-out” series are Milly’s purest afro-cubist expressions and reflected the social, political, and economic turmoil that engulfed the Americo-Liberian society. The tumult drove Milly to other African countries in search of a common-denominator to art forms, where she found inspiration as an artist caught-up in conflict, contradiction, and consciousness. </li></ul>Click to Continue
A rtist S tatement Conflict, Contradiction and Consciousness: an artist’s evolution <ul><li>Truly a renaissance woman, Milly is also an architect, a conference interpreter and translator speaking five languages (French, German, Italian, Spanish and English), and a former model (including September 1971 Ebony Fashion Fair poster-model, Essence Magazine). </li></ul><ul><li>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 fisherman) have produced a unique perspective from which to artistically represent the essence of the African struggle and spirit of resilience and hope. </li></ul><ul><li>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. </li></ul><ul><li>Retired since 1998 as Advisor on International Affairs to the former President of Liberia and mother of five adult children and twenty grandchildren, Milly now focuses all her time on painting. As she reflects on her artistic track record over some five decades, impressions of mindset redirection, national reconciliation, and reconstruction in her native Liberia can easily be seen in the vibrant colors of Afro-Cubism. </li></ul>Click to Continue
Afro-Cubism An Artist’s Personal Style M illy’s oil painting technique abides by the age old principles of Chiaro-Oscuro (light and dark), advocated by the 15 th Century Italian Masters. Colors are muted and shapes are obtained from the contrast of light ocres to dark and raw umber tones, with a pleasing and calming impact on the viewer. In 1967, seventeen years after Milly started oil painting, the young mother of three had a creative revelation that would evolve into Milly’s unique style of creating art: Afro-Cubism. The artistic epiphany occurred when a large mirror was shattered by a ball. In the mirror’s reflection was an ebony carving of a woman's head. The broken reflected the fragmented splinters of the statuette. Looking at the carving in its wholeness, and seeing her refractions in the shattered mirror, the images reminded Milly of the multifaceted emotions, experience and aspirations of each individual. The jagged edges of the reflection 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. Click to Continue