Born and raised in Gastonia, John Biggers was one of North Carolina’s most honored and beloved artists. Throughout his long career as both an artist and educator, Biggers sought to reforge the link between African and African American cultures. In paintings and large-scale murals, he employed a rich visual language to address-often in the same image-the past, present, and future of Africa’s scattered children. In this highly symbolic painting, three generations of a Southern black family emerge from a pool of water, a reference to both ritual purification and the primordial beginnings of life. Flanked by monumental female figures — symbolic perhaps of maternal Africa — this community stands together facing the dawn.
Purchased with funds from the North Carolina State Art Society (Robert F. Phifer Bequest)