"Elizabeth Catlett and Kehinde Wiley honor Black culture and all the layers they posses while offering realness and authenticity"
- Lydia Myrick
Curator: Lydia Myrick
2006.155 (Elizabeth Catlett)
Elizabeth Catlett (American 1915–2012), Negro es Bello II, 1969–2001, Lithograph, Sheet: 33 3/8 x 25 1/4 in. (84.8 x 64.1 cm), Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, Ohio), Gift of Dr. Elizabeth Catlett, 2006.155. © 2021 Catlett Mora Family Trust / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Think of a word that connects each of your pieces together.
How do you feel connected to these images, to the artist?
The pieces that I have chosen exudes power and resilience. Growing up in America and witnessing all of the injustices committed against my people, yet still seeing how far we have come and must go, resembles a strength we have to have. The pieces complement each other, and I adore both works and what they express. Portraying heroines in the Black community and painting Black people as themselves in such a regal manner connected me to these pieces. Especially with how we have constantly been abused, stereotyped, and negatively portrayed by others, it is always refreshing to see Black people with strength and magnificence.
2005.290 (Kehinde Wiley)
Kehinde Wiley (American, born 1977), Saint Francis of Paola, 2003. Oil on canvas. 82 x 70 in. (208.3 x 177.8 cm). Toledo Museum of Art (Toledo, Ohio), Gift of Charles L. Borgmeyer, Mrs. Webster Plass, and C.W. Kraushaar, by exchange, 2005.290. Saint Francis of Paola ©2021 Kehinde Wiley
How do you feel your choices connect to Juneteenth?
Juneteenth is remembering the horrors Black people faced and still face in America while simultaneously celebrating where we are now and where we will be. Celebrating Black culture and excellence is also vital when honoring Juneteenth. Elizabeth Catlett and Kehinde Wiley honor Black culture and all the layers they possess while offering realness and authenticity. They show Black culture and people in a light that couples their work and what Juneteenth truly represents.
Lydia Myrick is a student at the University of Toledo studying in the visual arts field. At the moment, they work as a consulting curator at the Toledo Museum of Art. They are the President of the MADD Poets Society and have served in the community for many years. They have done many performances in the city of Toledo for different organizations. Lydia is an artist with a focus on fashion design. They have worked in the fashion field for six years and will continue to pursue it down the line.
Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012) was born at Freedmen’s Hospital in Washington, DC. Both her maternal and paternal grandparents were born enslaved, a family legacy that influenced her art. Catlett knew from a young age that she wanted to be an artist. After Carnegie Mellon rescinded her acceptance due to her race, she attended Howard University, graduating in 1935 with a BS in Art. In 1939, she began graduate studies in art at the University of Iowa, where she shifted her focus from painting to sculpture, and became the first woman to receive an MFA in sculpture from the University of Iowa. Her work often centered Black women. In 1946 Catlett moved to Mexico, where she was a guest artist at the printmaking collective, Taller de Gráfica Popular (TGP, People's Graphic Arts Workshop). Inspired by the artistic activism within her circle of Mexican artists including Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, and David Siqueiros, Catlett continued creating images that showed the constant struggle and surprising strength of women, African Americans, those experiencing poverty, and disadvantaged social classes. From https://nmaahc.si.edu/latinx/elizabeth-catlett (National Museum of African American History and Culture)
Los Angeles native and New York based visual artist Kehinde Wiley (born 1977) has firmly situated himself within art history’s portrait painting tradition. As a contemporary descendent of a long line of portraitists, including Reynolds, Gainsborough, Titian, Ingres, among others, Wiley engages the signs and visual rhetoric of the heroic, powerful, majestic and the sublime in his representation of urban, Black and Brown men found throughout the world. […] Wiley’s larger than life figures disturb and interrupt tropes of portrait painting, often blurring the boundaries between traditional and contemporary modes of representation and the critical portrayal of masculinity and physicality as it pertains to the view of Black and brown young men. […] Without shying away from the complicated socio-political histories relevant to the world, Wiley’s figurative paintings and sculptures “quote historical sources and position young Black men within the field of power.” From https://kehindewiley.com/