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Samuel Akainyah

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Information about Samuel Akainyah

Profile image of Samuel Akainyah

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Art Gallery Owner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Soup (Peanut Butter), Fufu, Stew (Spinach), Beans (Fried), Plantains (Fried)
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/5/1953

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Art Gallery Owner

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
Soup (Peanut Butter), Fufu, Stew (Spinach), Beans (Fried), Plantains (Fried)
Favorite Time of Year:
None
Favorite Vacation Spot:
None
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
9/5/1953
See how Samuel Akainyah is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Painter Samuel Akainyah was born in Ghana on September 5, 1953. His father was a Ghanaian Supreme Court justice, and his mother was a teacher. He was one of five children. Akainyah attended a boarding high school before moving to Chicago, Illinois, in 1975 and enrolling into the School of the Art Institute to study fine art and art history. He received his B.A. degree in 1979 and later received his M.A. degree. While in school, Akainyah completed a mural at St. Sabina Church, on Chicago’s South Side. Akainyah also received his M.A. degree in diplomacy and international law from the Graduate Committee on International Relations at the University of Chicago.

After graduate school, Akainyah began using his African history knowledge and his painting skills to create highly expressive paintings. In the early 1980s, one of his frescos was sold at a celebrity auction and later became a poster for the NAACP. A decade later, “Akainyah: The Art of Liberation,” became a traveling exhibition worldwide, paying tribute to Nelson Mandela and those who have died in South African prisons. In 1994, Professor Beverly Ross-Normand wrote and hosted a forty-minute television program for children entitled Initiations, which juxtaposed Akainyah’s painting of the initiation of Ghanian males against the rising gang subculture in America. A few years later, Akainyah became a faculty member in the humanities department at Kennedy-King Community College in Chicago. He has published three books including a 2008 autobiography.

Akainyah was honored by the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois when they proclaimed February 15, 1999, as Samuel Akainyah Day in Chicago. That same year, he was elected as the official artist of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. In 2005, he presented the President of Ghana with an 11’ X 11’ painting entitled, From Whence We Came, valued at $80,000. A year later, he was named one of the fifty most influential African Americans in Chicago by N’Digo magazine. Akainyah has been a member of the Rald Institute and Ghana National Council of Metropolitan Chicago. He has also chaired the Black Creativity Art Competition at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Akainyah lives in Chicago and has his own art gallery. He is married to Kim Akainyah. They have three children.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Akainyah's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the Nzema language
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his father's law career
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah describes his mother's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his father's first two marriages
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah recalls his mother's career as a headmistress
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes his parents' marriage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah talks about polygamy in Ghana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes his upbringing in the British colony of Ghana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the customs of the Nzema
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the Nzema burial rites
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah remembers the Ghanaian military coup of 1966, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah remembers the Ghanaian military coup of 1966, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes the impact of the military coup upon Ghanaians
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah recalls Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah's literacy programs
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Kwame Nkrumah's legacy in Ghana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah recalls the impact of the military coup upon his family
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah describes the aversion to politics in Ghana
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Ghana's political turmoil
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah describes his schooling in Ghana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah describes his decision to leave Ghana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the economic opportunities in Ghana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the philanthropic opportunities in Ghana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes his early interest in art
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah describes his choice of paint media
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his education in Ghana
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the connection between parents and their children
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah remembers his decision to study art
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah describes the development of his art movement
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Slating of Samuel Akainyah's interview, session 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah recalls transferring to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah remembers the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes the differences between Ghana and the United States
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah recalls his instructors at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about Claude Monet
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about Pablo Picasso
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah talks about African American artists who influenced him
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah describes Chicago's African American artists and gallery owners
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the themes of his artwork
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his musical interests
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah recalls Father Michael Pfleger's financial support
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the size of his paintings
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes his artistic career
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah describes 'The Father Clements Story'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah remembers Harold Washington
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his studies in diplomacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah's policies, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon Ghanaian President Kwame Nkrumah's policies, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah remembers his instructors at the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah recalls his final term paper at the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah describes the relations between the United States and Ghana
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his decision to remain in the United States, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his decision to remain in the United States, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah talks about Ghanian expatriate communities
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about gender roles in the Nzema culture
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the artistic concept of dualism
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Samuel Akainyah describes his dualist paintings
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his move to the United States
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah describes the influence of history on his artwork
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes his plans for the future
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his career as an artist
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes the community of black gallery owners
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the patrons of his art
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah describes his students at Kennedy-King College in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah talks about his commissioned artwork
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - Samuel Akainyah describes his favorite painting
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his career as a professor
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah describes his hopes for Ghana
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah describes Ghana's influence on the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the history of slavery in Ghana, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah talks about the history of slavery in Ghana, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Samuel Akainyah describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Samuel Akainyah describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Samuel Akainyah remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Samuel Akainyah reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Samuel Akainyah describes how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Samuel Akainyah narrates his photographs