Akili Tommasino, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and HAA alumn, recently spoke with WBUR about the artwork he misses the most from the MFA collections during the pandemic shutdown.
“Born in British Guiana (present-day Guyana) and a fixture in the 1960s NYC art scene, Frank Bowling challenged his contemporaries, embracing the technicolor hues and gestural nature of abstract painting when pop art and minimalism ruled the scene. Much of Bowling’s work hearkens to his transatlantic identity — “Suncrush” in particular evokes warmth, vibrancy and the tropical climate of the artist’s homeland — and the large-scale, acrylic-on-canvas work resonates with Tommasino through the parallels he finds between Bowling’s life and his own. “As the son of immigrants from St. Vincent and the Grenadines, raised in Brooklyn, and trained in both Europe and the U.S., I admire Frank Bowling’s intentionally itinerant education, ambitious cultivation of a global perspective and defiance of limitations imposed on Black identities,” he says. “‘Suncrush’ is a vibrant reminder of the tremendous yet often overlooked contributions of people of African descent from South America and the Caribbean to the culture of the United States.”