Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson lived and worked in Columbus, Ohio, where she created sculpture, large complex works she called RagGonNons, rag paintings, paintings on cloth and drawings. She also created books about her family and community, African American history, her travels and the stories she was told by her elders. Her goal was to create art that fills the gaps of African and African American history and encourage others to research and document the history of their families and communities for the next generation. In 2002, CMA organized Symphonic Poem, the first retrospective of her work, which traveled throughout the United States. In 2004, Robinson participated in a residency in Santiago, Chile, where she was the first woman artist to have a solo exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes. Her commission for the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center is on permanent view at the Center in Cincinnati. Robinson’s work has also been presented at Akron Art Museum, Oakland Museum, Baltimore Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, Studio Museum in Harlem, Toledo Museum of Art and museums and galleries around the world.
Guests in Robinson’s home remember a profound sense of both the spiritual and the sacred. The design of Raggin’ On encourages museum visitors to experience that environment through vintage photographs and ephemera, newly recorded conversations with family and friends, and the reconstruction of Robinson’s Writing Room. In addition to drawings, prints, paintings, sculpture, beaded dolls, puppets and one-of-a-kind books, Raggin’ On highlights some of the more than 150 journals that Robinson kept from the time she was a teenager. An opportunity to digitally peruse a sampling of Robinson’s journals will reveal memoirs filled with poetry, prose, illustrations, imaginative doodles and detailed pen, ink and watercolor depictions.