Born in 1926, the Antiguan artist, writer, and polymath Frank Walter had a lineage that included slaves of African descent and aristocratic European slave owners. Throughout his life, discriminatory practices in Europe meant he was under-recognized. Dismayed by his failures, Walter lived as a recluse in Falmouth Harbour, in an off-the-grid house he built himself (no water, no electricity, no other people). He worked on found materials that ranged from cardboard to paper to linoleum to the backs of photographs. His did probing portraits, landscape paintings, and abstract studies of the cosmos that are reminiscent of Hilma af Klint. After his death in 2009, 10,000 of Walter’s works were unveiled to the public and he finally achieved recognition as a rebel icon. What drove him? “The artist’s ultimate desire was to affect his audience in a positive way,” explains the art historian Barbara Paca, “lifting even the most melancholic and societally bereft to a higher level of being.” —E.C.
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