"Untitled" New Orleans Series by Gwendolyn Knight, 1941
Harriet Powers used traditional techniques in her quilts to record local legends, Bible stories and astronomical events on her quilts. One of the panels on Powers quilts illustrate the “dark day” of May 19, 1780 (which is now known as dense smoke over North America caused by Canadian wildfires) and the November 13, 1833, as the “night of falling stars” that convinced many terrified Americans that Judgment Day had come, but was later identified as the Leonid meteor storm. Two of her quilts are on display at the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC; Bible Quilt of 1886 and Pictorial Quilt of 1898.
In the 1920s Augusta Savage received commissions to create portrait busts of W.E.B. Du Bois and black nationalist Marcus Garvey; both pieces were hailed for their power and dynamism. On the strength of these works and especially the poignant Gamin (1929)—a portrait bust of a streetwise boy and one of Savage’s few extant pieces—she received a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship that enabled her finally to study in Paris in 1929–31.**
“I always made sure that all those people who thought they weren’t part of the opportunity to participate in the arts could find a way to become part of that experience,” said Leslie King Hammond, PhD, graduate dean emerita and founding director of the Center for Race and Culture at MICA. Her words are realized with the creation of the Leslie King Hammond Graduate Award. *
Mother Earth, life & soil. The representation of the earth is depicted as a female antelope with a baby carried on it's back. This could represent fertility and growth in the soil for a good harvest.