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Creation Date

2018

Description

Project Advisor: Benjamin D. Rinehart

Year of Graduation: 2018

Medium

Painting

Artist Statement

This body of work celebrates four African American women innovators from the early twentieth century. For the past two years, my work has focused on examining gender inequality represented in the sciences. Since science as an institution is a male-dominated field, it is culturally assumed that people know names like Albert Einstein but not names of equally important scientists such as Emmy Noether, whom Einstein describes as “the most significant mathematical genius thus far produced since the higher education of women began.” Sharing the stories of these women and increasing the visual representation of non-male, non-white scientists is a step forward to changing the negative cultural perspective of women in the sciences.

History often ignores the stories of marginalized groups, including the accomplishments of many African Americans. During the turn of the twentieth century, white, male innovators, like Thomas Edison, received most of the attention. Meanwhile, prominent women of color inventors have been unfairly and unfortunately overlooked. These four pieces promote the work of four African American women innovators. The portraits reframe popular iconography of the Art Nouveau period by depicting black women in powerful poses, in contrast to the sexualized depiction of white European women. The contributions of these innovators are further highlighted by displaying their patents and the modern technology established by their inventions. Reliable photographs of these women are often not available, as their stories were thought to be less important and not documented thoroughly. This series of mini-installations does its best with the information available to celebrate their accomplishments and present an artistic document of their lives. Their stories have not ended here, but are a living history that thrives from our interest and determination in sharing their important legacies.

Rights

Copyright for this work is held by the artist.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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