Artist and filmmaker Allen Blagden visited the Lower Campus on Thursday, May 17 to speak about his craft, his travels to Africa, and his time as a student at the IMS Lower School (which was then called the Town Hill School).

Mr. Blagden’s visit was especially relevant because this year’s Lower School theme is “Africa: Communities, Cultures, Creativity.” He shared information about his travels throughout the continent and the artwork he collected and created. Mr. Blagden brought in some of his favorite souvenirs and artifacts, including a small rug of traditional African mud cloth, a leather milk container, a warthog skull, and a carved wooden head rest. Students were enthralled by tales of his adventures, and were also curious about the techniques he used in his paintings. They were surprised to learn, for example, that he used a toothbrush in one painting to achieve the texture of a dust cloud.

As a former illustrator for the National Serengeti Park in Kenya, and also for the Smithsonian Institute, Mr. Blagden observed people, studied wildlife, and created many realist paintings of animals and birds from the area. He is a member of The Society of Animal Artists. Examples of his work can be seen on his website.