Expert of the past, African art collector Paul Hamilton now looks to the future
Born in Pueblo, Hamilton moved to Denver in 1959. In addition to his educational career, he served the Five Points neighborhood as the Colorado State Representative from 1969 to 1973.
He didn’t start collecting art until the 1980s.
Hamilton’s Personal Museum is his way of correcting and overturning the myths he heard growing up that “Africa was bad and had no contribution.”
He even wrote a book about it: Contributions of African Peoples to World Civilizations: Shattering Myths.
“It’s redemption,” he said of his book and collection. “This tells us that Africans are great people because everyone’s ancestors … came from Africa.”
the consensus in the scientific community is that Homo sapiens first appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago. But despite this history, Hamilton believes few people are familiar with African art and culture, despite world famous painters like Picasso, Matisse and others who rely on African art for inspiration.
Written for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, curator Denise Murrell noted, “some of Picasso’s most important early sculptural works, and his monumental 1930s busts of his young mistress Maria Theresa, have been linked, respectively, to the Grebo and Nimba masks in his collection of African sculptures.”
Hamilton is an important figure in his community. In 2016, he partnered with local artists Thomas “Detour” Evans and Ancestry.com to create “They still live», An exhibition that combined photography, African art and ancestry.