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Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson was born in Columbus, Ohio, in 1940.

When she was a little girl, her father taught her how to draw and how to make books from homemade paper and "hogmawg," a collection of mud, clay, twigs, leaves, lime, animal grease, and glue. The artist uses hogmawg in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional work. Her mother taught her weaving, needlework, and button work.



Brenda Lynn Robinson is born in Columbus, Ohio.

Family moves to Poindexter Village, Columbus, one of the nation's early federally funded apartment complexes.

Poindexter Village - First Families in 1940, 1995 Private Collection

"I began drawing at the age of three. My father would give me wood to paint on and paint in little enamel tins. My studio was under my bed...I never had any doubt in my mind about being an artist."Aminah

Untitled, (Aminah and her dog), 1950

Aminah (in hat) at Beatty Park Recreation Center, 1950.

Aminah between her parents with sisters Sue and Sharon, 1951.


Graduates from East High School, Columbus.

Enters Columbus Art School (now Columbus College of Art and Design).

Aminah, 1957


Participates in The March on Washington.

Unwritten Love Letter: March on Washington, 1989


Marries Clarence Robinson who is in the U.S. Air Force and moves with him to a military base in Boise, Idaho.

Aminah and Sydney, 1968

Child of the Field, 1978 (Sydney, age 11)


Sydney Edward Robinson is born in Biloxi, Mississippi.


Meets Columbus woodcarver Elijah Pierce.

Elijah Pierce was my spiritual mentor and friend. He was a great person, a great artist, and a person who walked with integrity, and he passed on so much of that wisdom to me... We just generally like to be around each other. There was just a connection there.Aminah

Elijah Pierce, Mrs. Pierce, and Aminah


Separates from Clarence and returns to Columbus with Sydney.


Aminah demonstrating spinning at a Columbus Recreation and Parks program, 1979. Photo by Kojo Kamau.

Begins 19-year career with Columbus Recreation and Parks.


Buys house in Columbus and moves there with Sydney

Gift of Love, 1974-2002, promised gift to the Columbus Museum of Art

I started this chair in 1974. I was trying to find furniture for the house. So I said, "I need to build a chair." I didn’t really have the materials, so my father and friends gave me scraps... It represents my family and community. That's what the chair is about—life in Columbus. Aminah


Study trip to Africa, receives name "Aminah" From a holy man in Egypt.

Streets of Dakar, Senegal, 1980

I made paper before going to Africa... I made a leather pack to hold my drawing paper and a leather pack to hold my pencils and ink. All I wanted to do was draw and capture the spirit of the people.


Visits Sapelo Island, Georgia, where her ancestors were slaves before and during the Civil War.

First group exhibition at the Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Basket Woman, 1984. Huntington National Bank

Sapelo, Georgia, is off the coast of Savannah, Georgia and it takes twenty minutes to cross over on the Sapelo ferry. In the early 1800s, it was owned by Thomas Spalding. He would go to the auction block in South Carolina, purchase a lot of slaves, and bring them back to Sapelo to work the cotton and sugar cane fields.Aminah


Receives Governor's Award for the Visual Arts from the Ohio Arts Council.

Receives a grant from the Ohio Arts Council for a residency at PS 1 in Queens, New York.

Receives a Minority Artist Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts to work with Robert Blackburn at the Printmaking Workshop in New York City.

Red Scarf (from New York Series), 1989 Private Collection

Group exhibition- Stitching Memories: African-American Story Quilts, Williams College, Studio Museum of Harlem, Oakland Museum, and others


Columbus Metropolitan Library commission

Life in Sellsville and Life in the Blackberry Patch, 1990. Columbus Metropolitan Library
Life in Sellsville and Life in the Blackberry Patch, 1990. Columbus Metropolitan Library


Group exhibition, Will/Power at the Wexner Center for the Arts, The Ohio State University.

Writes and illustrates The Teachings, published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Cover art for The Teachings, 1992
Cover art for The Teachings, 1992

The spirituals speak of survival, of freedom and determination, of love and faith, of justice and hope. The spirituals, weaving together the memories that carry us into the future, must not be forgotten. They are our stories, our chants, our dreams, our lives. As they did so long ago, they continue to reach out and offer hope.Aminah, from The Teachings


Aminah's son Sydney dies.


First exhibition at Hammond Harkins Gallery, Columbus.


Ohio Arts Council residency in Herzilya, Israel.

Muslim Arab, Old City Old City of Jerusalem
Muslim Arab, Old City Old City of Jerusalem, 1998
Orthodox Jew, Old City of Jerusalem
Orthodox Jew, Old City of Jerusalem, 1998

In Israel, I took in the three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I saw a whole spectrum of people, and they were all sacred.Aminah


Symphonic Poem, retrospective exhibition at the Columbus Museum of Art.

Receives an honorary doctor of fine arts degree from Ohio Dominican University.

Symphonic Poem
Cover, Symphonic Poem catalogue, 2002


2003 National Underground Railroad Freedom Center commission, Cincinnati.

Journeys, detail, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
Journeys, detail, National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,Cincinnati


Solo exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago, Chile.

Receives MacArthur award


Symphonic Poem travels to Brooklyn Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Toledo Museum of Art.

Solo exhibition at ACA Gallery, New York City.


Ohio University Baker Center commission.


May 22, 2015 Aminah passes away in Columbus, Ohio.

Water Street: New Work by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Columbus Museum of Art.

Life Along Water Street, 2007 Life Along Water Street, 2007
Aminah at Ohio University Baker Center Aminah at Ohio University Baker Center, 2007
© Gary J. Kirksey 2007