My Art Speaks for Both My Peoples: Selected Prints by Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett’s prints invite us to contemplate the educational experience that molded her artistic identity.  As an African American female artist who was forced to negotiate the segregated reality of the 1930s and 40s to conquer her craft, Catlett’s success at once announces her raw talent as well as her creative willingness to learn from many sources.  Her prints remind us of her artistic odyssey, the friendships that sustained her, and the deeply held values she retained throughout her life.

Today, Catlett’s works offer a powerful lesson on the campus of Washington and Lee.  Her prints inspire and demand as she celebrates and exhorts.  Ultimately, she reminds us that vivifying individual cultural and political truths is essential, and she invites others to do the same.  She strives to deepen the conversation and history that belongs to all of us.  This exhibition invites visitors to interpret diverse American experiences as we also consider an artist who refuses to veil difficult parts of our story.  What a sight to behold.

Lena Hill, Provost

September 2021