Biography: Ernest Crichlow was born in Brooklyn to parents from Barbados in 1914. His artistic career was supported by the Works Progress Administration Federal Art Project, and in 1969 he founded the Cinque Gallery in Manhattan with Romare Bearden and Norman Lewis to support African American artists until its closing in 2004. Crichlow was a muralist, a children’s book illustrator, and taught at the Art Students League in New York. He exhibited with Bearden, Lewis, and Jacob Lawrence in 1941 at the Downtown Gallery in New York, and a major retrospective of his work toured in 1999. Crichlow is represented in the collections of the Studio Museum of Harlem, the Brooklyn Museum, MIT Museum, and the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, among many others.
Crichlow is best known for his figurative practice dedicated to social justice and the civil rights struggle. He has said that his “work has been [his] attempt to articulate [his] experiences as a black person for all to see.” Barbed wire or fences are reoccurring devices in his work to indicate civil injustices.