Immigration Brown Bag Series: Coloring Outside the Lines

Event date: 

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 2:40pm


NAB Room 2034
Catlett's work 64 Parishes shows an late 19th century sharecropper



Prof. Anahí A. Douglas of the English Department will discuss "Coloring Outside the Lines: The policing of African American-Mexican artist Elizabeth Catlett" as the latest installment of the College's ongoing Immigration Brown Bag Series.

Bring along your lunch and hear Prof. Douglas discuss her research into the life, work and experiences of Catlett, a renowned African-American artist who explored themes relating to race and feminism in her range of sculpture, paintings, and prints. Catlett was known for highlighting the struggle of black people with her art. Responding to segregation and the fight for civil rights, Catlett’s depictions of sharecroppers and activists showed the influence of Primitivism and Cubism.

Born Alice Elizabeth Catlett on April 15, 1915 in Washington, D.C., she was awarded a scholarship to attend the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh—only to have the offer rescinded on the basis of her race. She then enrolled at Howard University and went on to study under Grant Wood at the University of Iowa, becoming the first African-American woman to graduate with an MFA from the school. In the 1940s, she traveled to Mexico on a fellowship and began to paint murals influenced by the work of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. From 1975 onward, she lived and worked between Cuernavaca, Mexico and New York, NY throughout the remainder of her life. Catlett died on April 2, 2012 in Cuernavaca, Mexico at the age of 96. Today, the artist’s works are held in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others.

All on campus are welcome to attend this free event.