From `The Journey Home'
TYRONE GETER is one of the few black American artists to resettle here in Africa. Many have visited, but circumstances often prevented their settling permanently. This was the case with another American, Tom Feelings who in his ``Black Pilgrimage'' (New York: Lothrup, Lee and Shepherd, 1972) has mentioned how his stay in Ghana was interrupted after two years by the coup that toppled President Kwame Nkrumah. However, his expectation is to return to Africa to live permanently. It is interesting to see how many of his artistic impressions of Africa tally with those of Geter, who currently is a member of the African American Master Artists in Residency Program at Northeastern University in Boston. For example, during the period Feelings was in Africa, he indicated the remarkable impression the tropical colors made upon him as an artist.Skip to next paragraph
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There were many new things for my eyes to feast on - the palm trees in the warm sun, and dusty pastel-colored roads - all the wonderful colors of Africa. I had to change my whole palette, use more vivid colors, and put more light into my paintings....
This intensity and brightness of color in Africa was also experienced by Geter, who often stated that he was impressed by the different color combinations used in the clothing worn and household decorations, etc. These were colors that were rarely, if ever, used together by Europeans. As he said: ``I have always felt color here was different ... In fact it is probably different in any tropical place where the intensity of the sun is so great that the colors become so intense and so bright.''
Tom Feelings was also highly impressed by the nature of the people:
... One of the first things that struck me when I went into the streets and villages to draw was the glow in the faces. It was a glow that came from within, from a knowledge of self, a trust in life, ... All my innermost feelings about the beauty of the Black People I had known came to life, and I was happy.
And again, speaking of one child he had drawn and contrasting her with children in America, he stated:
I chose this little girl to draw because she represents what I would most like to remember about West Africa. She has all the warmth and spirit I so longed to see in Black children in America. I knew that spirit was in the young Black children at home, but it was buried deep under layers of frustration and alienation. I saw none of this in the faces of children I drew in Ghana....
Geter's long stay in Nigeria has led him at this point to want to look for essentials. Essentials that related to the point of origin when the expatriated African in the Diaspora had been at one with his homeland. As Geter said in an interview:
The more you learn about Nigeria, you know, the more you want to see something that is a bit closer to reality a bit less Western-oriented ... I am concerned about some things I think have happened to Black Americans; we have lost much of our culture, or only know it instinctively, because of the whole slavery history.