Billops, Camille

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Artist and filmmaker Camille Billops was born on August 12, 1933, in Los Angeles, California. Billops' career has consisted of printmaking, sculpture, book illustration and filmmaking. She obtained her B.A. degree from California State University as well as her M.F.A. degree from City College of New York in 1975. Her primary medium is sculpture, and her works are in the permanent collections of the Jersey City Museum in Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Museum of Drawers, Bern, Switzerland. Billops has exhibited in one-woman and group exhibitions worldwide including: Gallerie Akhenaton, Cairo, Egypt; Hamburg, Germany; Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Gimpel and Weitzenhoffer Gallery, and El Museo de Arte Moderno La Tertulia, Cali, Colombia. She was a long time friend and colleague of master printmaker Robert Blackburn, whom she assisted in establishing the first printmaking workshop in Asilah, Morocco in 1978.

In 1975, with her husband, Black theatre historian James Hatch, Billops founded the Hatch-Billops Collection. This impressive African American archive is a collection of oral histories, books, slides, photographs and other historical references. Billops also collaborated with James Van Der Zee and poet Owen Dodson in the publication ofThe Harlem Book of the Dead. In 1982, Billops began her filmmaking career withSuzanne, Suzanne. She followed this promising beginning by directing five more films, includingFinding Christain 1991, which is a highly autobiographical work that garnered the Grand Jury Prize for documentaries at the 1992 Sundance Film Festival.Finding Christahas also been aired as part of the Public Broadcasting Station'sP.O.V.television series. Her other film credits includeOlder Women and Lovein 1987,The KKK Boutique Ain't Just Rednecksin 1994,Take Your Bagsin 1998, andA String of Pearlsin 2002. Billops produced all of her films with her husband and their film company, Mom and Pop Productions. They have also co-publishedArtist and Influence, an annual, in 1981 as an extensive journal of the African Americans in the visual, performing and literary arts community.

Billops and her husband residde in New York City, where they both served as archivists of the Hatch-Billops Collection.

Billops passed away on June 1, 2019.

From The HistoryMakers™ biography:

Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf The HistoryMakers Video Oral History with Camille Billops The HistoryMakers
Relation Name
associatedWith Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center. corporateBody
associatedWith Dixon, Brenda. person
associatedWith Hatch-Billops Collection, Inc. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (N.Y.)
Los Angeles (Calif.)
Fine Artist


Birth 19330812

Death 20190601



Ark ID: w6xk95cg

SNAC ID: 36692533