Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012) was an African American sculptor and printmaker best known for her bold depictions of the Black experience in the 1960s and 70s. The Art of Elizabeth Catlett presented a selection of the artist’s work from the collection of her student, fellow artist, educator, and lifelong friend Samella Lewis. Sculpture, art prints, and protest banners by Catlett tell the story of her life: her early arts education in the US, her move to Mexico and membership in Taller Gráfica Popular, her continual involvement with the Civil Rights movement in both countries, and the flow of influence between her and her peers. Artworks by Samella Lewis as well as Catlett’s husband, Fancisco Mora, were on view.
Elizabeth Catlett was born in Washington D.C. and studied design, printmaking, and drawing at Howard University before being the first student to receive a Master’s degree in sculpture at the University of Iowa. In 1946, Catlett received a fellowship that allowed her to travel to Mexico City where she studied painting, sculpture, and lithography. Soon after, she joined the Taller Gráfica Popular (the People’s Graphic Arts Workshop), a group of printmakers dedicated to creating socio-political artworks that would be accessible to all people. Catlett made Mexico her home for the rest of her life and fought for civil rights both there and in the US. In a 1970 article in Ebony Magazine, she shared, “I am inspired by Black people and Mexican people, my two peoples.”
Artworks by Elizabeth Catlett: Banner – Roots, 1981. Mixed media, edition 12/110. Inline – Maternity, 1971. Wood.
The exhibition was organized by Landau Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, CA.
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