“Making History: Meta Warrick Fuller’s Ethiopia,” by Renée Ater

Referring to African Americans, [Meta Warrick] Fuller wrote, “Here was a group who had once made history and now after a long sleep was awaking, gradually unwinding the bandage of its mummied past and looking out on life again, expectant but unafraid and with at least a graceful gesture.” Created at the dawn of the Harlem Renaissance, Ethiopia is widely considered the first Pan-African American work of art. [1]

I was searching for more information about Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller’s sculptures and found this article by Art Historian Renee Ater. See Ater’s commentary below. Article link to follow.

In this essay, I reevaluate Meta Warrick Fuller’s Ethiopia, a statue she created for the America’s Making Exposition, a 1921 fair that focused on the contributions of immigrants to American society. I argue that Ethiopia served two seemingly contradictory purposes. It filled a need for African Americans to formulate an authentic racial identity by looking to the grand achievements of Egyptian history while also supporting the romantic ideal of Christian Ethiopia as a symbol of black liberation. At the same time, Ethiopia’s message was assimilationist in the way it was exhibited at a “melting pot” event, representing the emancipation of a people attempting to prove their value to a society that had long excluded blacks from full involvement as United States citizens.[2]

Article found here.




Ater, Renée. “Making History: Meta Warrick Fuller’s Ethiopia.” American Art 17, no. 3 (Fall 2003): 12-31. Link below.


Image found at https://nmaahc.si.edu/meta-vaux-warrick-fuller-ethiopia-1921

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