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Boneyard Artist Profile: Benjamin Betsem Atiback

Last month, Benjamin Betsem Atiback arrived at the Independent Media Center as an artist in residence, and he immediately set to work creating vivid paintings which reflect his African heritage. Benjamin is situated in the art studio in the entryway to the Bike Project, so I’ve seen the progress of his work over the last couple of months, as well as the quiet dignity with which he carries himself.

He has a busy couple of weeks coming up, as many of his works will be displayed this weekend as part of the Boneyard Arts Festival installation at IMC Fest. Next weekend, he will be participating at Artists Against Aids at the Orpheum. Then, on May 1, he will have an opening at Blues BBQ at 1103 W. Oregon in Urbana.

Benjamin is a true struggling artist, residing at the TIMES Center when he’s not at the IMC or looking for work, so please do what you can to support his efforts, this weekend and over the next couple of weeks.

Benjamin was born in Dschang, in the west province of Cameroon. He studied at the University of Yaounde, in Cameroon’s capital city, and taught at the Arts Institute of Ouagadougou, in Burkina Faso.

From an announcement for an arts seminar that he taught last summer at the U of I:

“Benjamin Betsem Atiback is an internationally known artist-painter and anthropologist from Cameroon. Mr. Atiback has traveled throughout Africa and the United States, sharing his artwork and demonstrating its connection to the philosophies and cultures of Africa and African peoples. As a member of the SANKOFA movement and the Pan-African Circle of Artists, Mr. Atiback has dedicated his life to the teaching of African wisdom through art that is socially and politically conscious and relevant to the current world in which we live.”

The Art Space at the IMC opens at noon today, Saturday, and Sunday, so head out there to meet Benjamin and see his work.

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