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Dana C. Chandler Jr

Born, 1941 in Massachusetts, USA

From https://beatleyweb.simmons.edu/collectionguides/ManuscriptsCollection/MS236.html (accessed 2 July 2018)

Dana C. Chandler, Jr., 1941- , also known as Akin Duro, taught Art/Art History at Simmons College from 1970-2004. While at Simmons, Chandler was a Faculty Advisor for the Black Student Organization and worked towards the development of a Pan-African perspective in an Art History course through the collection of slides and interviews of black artists. Chandler was also an artist and lecturer.

Chandler was born in Lynn, Mass. on April 7, 1941 and moved to Roxbury, Mass. at the age of five. He attended Boston Public Schools including the Asa Gray and Sherwin Schools. After one year at Boston Latin School, Chandler suffered from scarlet and rheumatic fevers but returned to school at J.P. Timilty Jr. High School. He attended high school at Boston Technical High where he met Mr. Ralph Rosenthal, then a teacher, whom he accredits as being one of two persons responsible for him becoming an artist. Chandler won the First Annual Technical High School Art Award at graduation in 1959. From 1959-1961, Chandler was a student assistant to Mr. Gunnar Munnick, the other person who influenced to him to become an artist. Chandler attended Massachusetts College of Art (Mass Art), 1962-1967. He graduated with a BS in Art Education.

While attending Mass Art, Chandler worked as a community organizer for the Jamaica Plain Area Planning Action Council (APAC). After graduating from Mass Art in 1967, he continued to work at APAC and was witness to the 1967 Grove Hall riots where many of his friends beaten by the Boston Police. This led Chandler to create art depicting oppression and racial violence in America. In his artwork he created imagery that communicated contemporary views of black people and their future. He considered his imagery as a form of self defense from those who oppose blackness and the development of Pan-Africanism. Unfortunately, much of Chandler’s work was destroyed in 1973 when 500 paintings and 2,300 reproductions and art equipment were damaged or stolen leaving future research grants from Simmons to be applied to the replacement of the lost works.

Chandler was hired as an Assistant Professor of Art/Art History at Simmons College in 1970 in order to fill a studio art position. He was appointed Associate Professor of Art/Art History in 1977 and a Full Professor in 1986, and retired in 2004. At the same time Chandler was an artist in Residence at Simmons College from 1973-1974, he was an artist-in-residence at Northeastern University and the Creator/Director of African-American Master Artists-in-Residency Program (AAMARP), Northeastern University 1974 -1993. During this time, Chandler continued his artistic career while teaching and published one catalogue of his work If the shoe fits, hear it!: Paintings and drawings 1967-1976 with funds from Northeastern University and assistance from Simmons College. In order to develop a new Black (Pan-African) course in American Art History apart from the European Art perspective, Chandler made trips to New York and Washington beginning in 1971 to obtain interviews and slides of black artists ranging from muralists, printmakers, sculptures, graphic artists and painters. His ambition was to obtain and catalogue the largest, most comprehensive collection of Pan-African slides in New England.

As the official advisor to the Black Student Organization, 1970-1972, and an unofficial advisor until 1983 at Simmons, Chandler promoted the interest, solidarity and racial pride of the black community of undergraduate students and faculty members. On November 10, 1982 he organized and promoted the visit of Pulitzer Prize poet Alice Walker at Simmons College. Chandler protested “A New World: Masterpieces of American Painting, 1970-1910” at the Museum of Fine Arts in 1983 due to its lack of representation of women and black artists. The Boston City Council honored Chandler in 1984 for “Accomplishments in the Arts” as an artist, educator and lecturer.

Related items

click to show details of Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century

»  Black Art and Culture in the 20th Century

Book relating to a publication, 1997

click to show details of Dana Chandler Retrospective 1967 - 1987

»  Dana Chandler Retrospective 1967 - 1987

Catalogue relating to an exhibition

Related exhibitions

Related venues

»  Massachesetts College of Art, North Hall Gallery

Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America