Artist of the Week

Elizabeth Catlett’s artwork and life painted a noble and human way of life for African American and Mexican working-class women. Her work tells accurate stories of their lives.

She was born in the United States in Washington, DC, in 1915. Raised by her mother because her father died shortly after she was born, Catlett spent summers with her grandparents in North Carolina.

She graduated from Howard University with a degree in Art and the University of Iowa with a Masters in Fine Arts degree. In 1940, she got a job as the department chair of Art at Dillard in New Orleans.

The first female professor of sculpture at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, School of Fine Arts San Carlos, in Mexico City, Catlett taught there until she retired in 1975.

Her work is collected in America, Mexico and the Czech Republic.

In addition to supporting marginalized communities in protests marches, Catlett was also commissioned to create monuments for the Ralph Ellison, Louis Armstrong and at Howard University.  Social justice was a matter that filled her work with images of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Black Power and other African American figures.

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