Profile: Ekua Holmes (1955-)

Ekua Holmes is an American mixed-media artist , children’s book illustrator, and arts organization professional. Holmes’ primary method of art making is mixed media collage, by layering newspaper, photos, fabric, and other materials to create colorful compositions. Many of these works evoke her childhood in Roxbury’s Washington Park neighborhood in Boston, MA.

Early life and education

Ekua Holmes was born in Roxbury, Massachusetts in 1955.

Holmes holds a BFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

Fine art career

As a young artist, Holmes discovered the power of found objects, which derive their identity as art from places as well as the social histories attached to the objects. Place, identity, culture, and social justice are frequent themes in her work. Many of Ekua’s collages are reminiscent of works by African and African American artists such as the late Romare Bearden and Njideka Akunyili.

Google Doodle

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2015, Holmes’s Google Doodle illustration honoring the civil rights leader was the featured image on Google’s U.S. homepage. The collage depicts King walking arm in arm with fellow activists in Selma, Alabama.

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