Illustrator creates an African room in his Folsom home
“My Happy Place” is a weekly series in which local notables take us on a tour of a favorite spot in their home.
FOLSOM — Fine artist E.B. Lewis has spent a portion of his career illustrating the narrative of the African American experience in this country.
In Lewis’ 4,000-square-foot home here from the 1940s, he has set aside a room dedicated to art he has collected from Africa.
“This room is my happy room, and it’s my happy place because it’s associated with things of my travels, things of my heritage and things of art,” said Lewis, 62, who added some of the art in his African room is utilitarian. “Some are pieces that are beautiful because of their simplicity.”
Lewis said he spends time in the room when he needs to relax and when he needs to vent.
“The light, plants, the wood and the textures (in the room), all of those things bring peace and happiness,” Lewis said.
Based on the research Lewis has done, his people were from the West Coast, the Ivory Coast, of Africa.
“A lot of pieces are from that region,” Lewis said. “When I come in here, it allows me to reflect on the homeland, the motherland Africa.”
Lewis has traveled to Africa three times. The most recent trip was in November where he visited the West Africa countries of Ghana, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire.
Lewis also likes the small gallery he created inside his house where he hangs art created by others that moved him when he saw them.
He eats and entertains in the room that features a 9-foot-table. He just changed the lighting over the table two months ago.
“This is work I have collected over the years. It reflects my taste, my sensibilities, my sensitivities,” Lewis said.
The house that Lewis lives in is one that he used to drive past as a child making the trips from Philadelphia to Ocean City to see his grandmother because the Atlantic City Expressway was not built yet.
“We would come past this house. As a child, this house stood out because it had the flavor of a Japanese teahouse,” Lewis said. “It had two Japanese magnolia trees. It fascinated me.”
When Harris was older, he would still drive by the house and slow down and look it. One day, he was driving with his sister, passed by the residence and saw the for-sale sign, which put the wheels into motion for him to buy it.