Brenda Lynn Robinson was born in Columbus in 1940. During a visit to Africa in 1979, an Egyptian holy man gave her the name “Aminah” which she legally affixed to her given names. For almost seven decades, she created art that she described as “filling in the blank pages of American history.” She did this by depicting the lives and events of both ordinary and extraordinary African Americans.
Aminah, as she preferred to be called, spent the first 17 years of her life in Poindexter Village, one of the nation’s early federally funded apartment complexes for African Americans. In 1974, she moved to Sunbury Road in the Shepard community of Columbus where she remained until she passed away in 2015. She left almost her entire estate to the Columbus Museum of Art. The home studio was renovated and is now a residence for African American artists and writers and a daily workspace for local artists. (For more information, visit Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Residencies and Fellowships).
"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
Brenda Lynn Robinson is born in Columbus, Ohio.
Family moves to Poindexter Village, Columbus, one of the nation's early federally funded apartment complexes.
Graduates from East High School, Columbus.
Enters Columbus Art School (now Columbus College of Art and Design).
"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
1963 Participates in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
Marries Clarence Robinson who is in the U.S. Air Force and moves with him to a military base in Boise, Idaho.
Sydney Edward Robinson is born in Biloxi, Mississippi.
Elijah Pierce, Mrs. Pierce, Aminah
Separates from Clarence and returns to Columbus with Sydney.
Begins 19-year career with Columbus Recreation and Parks.
Moves with Syndey to house at 791 Sunbury Road in Columbus.
Study trip to Africa, receives name "Aminah" From a holy man in Egypt.
Visits Sapelo Island, Georgia, where her ancestors were enslaved before and during the Civil War.
First group exhibition at the Carl Solway Gallery, Cincinnati, Ohio.
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.
Group exhibition - Stitching Memories: African American Story Quilts, Williams College, Studio Museum of Harlem, Oakland Museum, and others
"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
Columbus Metropolitan Library commission for grand staircase
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.
"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.
"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.
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center commission, Cincinnati.
Travels to Chile supported by an Ohio Arts Council Grant; solo exhibition at the National Museum of Fine Arts, Santiago
Travels to Italy and visits Rome, Florence, Padua, Vinci, Venice, and Lucca
Symphonic Poem travels to Brooklyn Art Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Toledo Museum of Art.
Travels to Peru
Ohio University Baker Center commission.
Feb. 6 – March 20 Two Black Women: Faith Ringgold and Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, ACA Galleries, New York City
Nov. 19 - April 10, 2011 Aminah Robinson: Voices that Taught Me to Sing, Toledo Museum of Art
Inducted into the City of Columbus Hall of Fame
Interview with Denny Griffin, retired President, Columbus College of Art and Design at the Metropolitan Club, Columbus
Aminah at 75, Hammond Harkins Galleries, Columbus, Ohio
May 22, Aminah dies of heart failure; leaves her estate to Columbus Museum of Art; memorial is held at Columbus Museum of Art on July 18
Robinson’s Presidential Suite at Columbus Museum of Art and Hammond Harkins
Aminah’s World, an activity book and children’s guide by Carole M. Genshaft, published by Columbus Museum of Art
April 18 – August 25 Kindred Spirits: The Art of Elijah Pierce and Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson, Columbus Museum of Art
Renovation of Robinson’s home studio is completed with support of the Columbus Foundation
Establishment of the Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson Residency and Fellowship in collaboration with the Greater Columbus Arts Council Click here for more information about residencies and fellowships.
Columbus artist DonCee Coulter is first Aminah Robinson Fellow
Nov. 18 – October 3, 2021 Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals, Columbus Museum of Art with accompanying book
May- August Johnathan Payne is inaugural recipient of Aminah Robinson Residency
Sept.- Nov. Columbus artist Wendy Kendrick is Aminah Robinson Fellow
Richard Duarte Brown receives an Aminah Robinson Fellowship
Darlene Taylor receives inaugural Aminah Robinson Writing Residency