International Artist Olga de Amaral Conferred Honorary Degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art

Courtesy of the Cranbrook Academy of Art
Courtesy of the Cranbrook Academy of Art

Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Cranbrook Art Museum in Bloomfield Hills have conferred an honorary Master of Fine Arts degree on Olga de Amaral.

Amaral is a fiber artist who studied at Cranbrook 1954-1955, but did not earn a degree, which was common at the time as students often visited for short periods of residency. She met her husband, Jim Amaral, a sculptor, at Cranbrook and the two went on to make a life for themselves by operating a design atelier along with their artistic practices in Amaral’s native Bogotá, Colombia.

Amaral’s woven sculptures are the result of a lifetime of experimentation and material studies drawing on techniques like plaiting and wrapping, using materials as varied as horsehair and gold leaf. She has formed a unique visual language of abstraction that draws upon Colombia’s landscape and history as well as the artist’s own identity.

“Thank you to Cranbrook Academy of Art for giving me an Honorary Master in Fine Arts Degree,” says de Amaral. “I am elated. Sixty-plus years ago, on the advice of a friend, I arrived at Cranbrook Academy of Art from Bogotá, Colombia. I arrived into a world of creativity and freedom and discovered my own creativity and my own freedom.

“This was unexpected, this was magic. Cranbrook was the turning point in my life, as an artist, and as a person. I met my husband Jim at Cranbrook. The honorary Master in Fine Arts Degree brings that turning point back to me. It reminds me of the excitement, the possibilities, the curiosity, and the discovery, at, what I now understand was the beginning. Thank you.”

Amaral has been featured in many group and solo exhibitions internationally throughout the course of her career and is featured in numerous museum collections across the globe including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate Modern, London; and Museo de Arte Moderno, Bogotá; among others.

She has received many accolades for her artistic achievements including a Guggenheim Fellowship; Visionary Artist recognition by the Museum of Art & Design, New York; Honoree of the Multicultural Benefit Gala, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Women’s Caucus for Art, New York.