Senga Nengudi emerged as part of a group of avant-garde African-American artists active in Los Angeles and New York in the 1970s and 1980s.
Edmonia Lewis was the first sculptor of African American and Native American descent to achieve international recognition. In addition to creating portrait heads, Lewis sculpted biblical scenes and figural works dealing with her Native American heritage and the oppression of black people.*
In a career spanning more than 70 years, Elizabeth Catlett has created sculptures that celebrate the heroic strength and endurance of African-American and Mexican working-class women. With simple, clear shapes she evokes both the physical and spiritual essence of her subjects. Her hardy laborers and nurturing mothers radiate both power and a timeless dignity and calm. Whether working in wood, stone, bronze, or clay, Catlett reveals an extraordinary technical virtuosity, a natural ability to meld her curving female forms with the grain, whorls, color, or luster of her chosen medium. The beauty of her subjects is matched by the beauty she reveals in her sculptural materials.**
Sylvia Williams directed installation of five inaugural exhibitions and more than 20 other exhibitions of traditional and modern art, including sculpture, photography, textiles and utilitarian objects. Under her direction, the museum acquired 845 works of art.*
Be sure to read my post about chi wara, titled Art & Art History - Representing the Spirit of Chi Wara on the home page.