Museums and racism

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Museums and racism

On the first day of Black History Monththe good people at Google blessed the internet with a doodle honoring Edmonia Lewisthe first woman of African-American and Native American descent to earn global recognition as a fine arts sculptor.

In part because Lewis made all of her sculptures by hand, few originals or duplicates remain intact today. She died in relative obscurity inMuseums and racism, to this day, remains lesser known than many of her white, male contemporaries. This well-deserved tribute to Lewis got us thinking about the other black women artists whose contributions to the history of art have been similarly overlooked or undervalued.

So we reached out to museums across the country, asking which artists past and present deserve our attention, too. Below are nine of those artists: Pat Ward Williams b. Initially, the artist set out to disrupt the homogenous way black life was captured on camera.

Her most famed work, featured above, features a photo of a bound black man chained to a tree, pulled from a issue of Life magazine.

Her eclectic style shifted over time, taking inspiration from African masks, French impressionist landscapes and bright Haitian patterns. An active member of the Harlem Renaissance, she used vibrant visuals to heighten the urgency of her politically charged works, Museums and racism addressed the joys and challenges of black life.

Even though I sometimes portray scenes of poor and struggling people, it is a great joy to paint. For example, when she first began showing her artwork, she reportedly asked white friends to deliver her works to exhibitions in an effort to hide her black identity.

International Slavery Museum, Liverpool museums

Upon retiring, she continued to paint and exhibit her work until she died at 93 years old. Interested in art from a young age, Thomas was the first student to graduate from Howard University with a degree in fine art. Famously, Thomas was most inspired by her garden and would watch with fascination as the scenery changed around her.

And every morning since then, the wind has given me new colors through the windowpanes. She had her first exhibition at 75 years old, later becoming the first woman to have a solo exhibition at The Whitney. Shared courtesy of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Inshe travelled to Europe, where she studied the old masters at the Louvre and specifically the works of Claude Monet.

Museums and racism

When she returned to the United States, due to the encroachment of World War I, Waring went on to teach and lead the departments of art and music at the Cheyney Training School for Teachers.

Although Waring worked in landscapes and still lifes, she is most celebrated for her paintings, which depicted accomplished black Americans with dignity and strength. Born in Philadelphia, Barbara Chase-Riboud began taking art classes at a young age.

The artist is known for her larger-than-life sculptures made from cast metal and shrouded in skeins of silk and wool, the strange lovechildren of a suit of armor and a ballgown skirt. At once strong and fluid and feminine and mechanical and natural, the stunning works became a symbols for feminine strength, as well as a visual manifestation of transformation and integration.

Shared courtesy of theThe Studio Museum in Harlem. She attended the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design where she studied painting and drawing, notably portraiture, and worked as a housekeeper to pay tuition.

She graduated amidst the burgeoning Harlem Renaissance. InProphet moved to Paris, in part frustrated by the racism rampant in the American art scene. Despite being broke and exhausted, she was creatively invigorated by the change of scenery and began creating sculptural portraits from materials including wood, marble, bronze, plaster and clay.

There she continued to submit her sculptures to galleries and competitions, while also teaching art at both Atlanta University and Spelman College. She was rumored to bring a live rooster to class for her students to sketch.

Although few of her sculptures are accounted for today, one is housed in the permanent collection of The Whitney in New York City. Shared courtesy of the Brooklyn Museum. She intended to continue studying dance as a student at Bennington College, but ended up switching to sculpture.

In her work, Hassinger combines elements of sculpture, performance, video and dance to investigate the relationship between the natural and industrial worlds. Her commonly used materials include wire, rope, garbage, leaves, cardboard boxes and old newspapers, often arranged to encourage movement, as if the sculptures themselves are engaged in a dance.

Shared courtesy of the Hammer Museum. Her father, a former slave, worked as a blacksmith and basket weaver; her mother made quilts and clothes.

Museums and racism

She married at 16 and, when her husband passed away, married another widower at When he died, Rowe was 48 years old and began a new life as an independent woman and an artist.

Rowe referred to her blossoming interest in art as a chance to re-experience childhood.Combating Racism in a Multicultural World: Classroom Ideas We all want students to become global citizens who can successfully engage with an increasingly diverse world.

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