Background image : Some of the early WEUSI Artist Collective members.
A Brief Historical Overview
Welcome to the new WEUSI Artist Collective Home. We have incorporated a gallery as a webpage. It was designed for the historian, the collector and the general public. It contains art and information about a group of master African-American Art makers whom are also educators.
The Harlem-founded WEUSI Artist Collective is a distinguished group of artist established in 1965 against the backdrop of the Black Arts Movement. These artist made iconic African imagery and symbols the central focus of their work. The word WEUSI comes from Africa and in Swahili means " Blackness".
The original WEUSI Artist Collective had a membership of 21 artist. Their base was a gallery located at 158 West 132nd Street. This gallery was named" Nyumba Ya Sanaa-House of Art". The purpose of Nyumba Ya Sanaa was to expose Black & African culture via art exhibitions and educational activities.
The Collective came together at a time in history marked by the turbulence of civil rights and the awaking of people of Color to human inequality around the world. This was a time where the invisibility of African and Black cultures were grossly misrepresented and excluded in the mainstream art world. Collectively, this group of artist dedicated themselves to creating black images using every known type of medium and canvas. This art told the story of the black experience in America. Their diversity of work speaks volumes of a people rich in culture and history. They were the pacesetters in Harlem's new cultural movement.
WEUSI has an extensive 55 year history as a cultural and teaching institution. They have provided workshops, walking tours, lectures, outdoor and indoor art exhibitions and other services to the greater Harlem community. Their annual Harlem Arts Festive at Saint Nicholas Park gathered so much national attention, other artist applied to show their work. This venue became the forerunner to Harlem Week ( started in 1974 and has continued for 47 years).
More documentation on the WEUSI Collective.
Ademola Olugbefola is both an original member and the author of several published works on the WEUSI Artist Collective.
WEUSI CO-FOUNDER - Otto Neals
A true " GRIOT " , he is a preserver of the artistic African traditions of sculpturing techniques, a painter extraordinaire, printmaker, as well as one of the WEUSI historians .