On May 22, Columbus lost one the brightest colors in its palette when Brenda Aminah Lynn Robinson passed away. She leaves behind singular artwork that is not only breathtaking in its painstaking production, but also work that traces the history of African-Americans in Columbus.
Aminah was not a talent hidden away in a tower, but rather a living, vibrant part of the Near East Side community and the Columbus scene as a whole. Ever since she was a young girl, dancing down the streets of the lost-to-memory Poindexter Village, Robinson has spent the entirety of her life celebrating Columbus—in paintings, sculptures and unique mixed media pieces called RagGonOns.
While beloved in Ohio, the world recognized her genius in 2004 when she received a phone call that informed her that she was to be a recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, which comes with a $500,000 prize.
“I didn’t know anything about the MacArthur … I didn’t know how they found me!” she laughed, slapping her hand on the couch during an interview with (614) in 2013. “It’s a great honor, it’s helped tremendously, my life is less stressful, but I’m still stunned. I’m just a person from Poindexter Village! I come from a very humble life … my mother and my uncle were born in the Blackberry Patch. I never thought I’d see anything like this.”
“This community is my soul,” she said, summing up her life in five words. • — Kim Leddy
If you happen to be in New York this fall, the ACA Galleries will be hosting “Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson: A Memorial Exhibition” from September 17 through October 10. Additionally, the Columbus Museum of Art usually has a number of Robinson’s work on display. For more, visit aminahsworld.org.