In the spirit of Elizabeth Catlett’s print There is a Woman in Every Color, this exhibition explores the legacy of Black women in the visual arts. Bringing together works made between the late eighteenth and twenty-first centuries, the exhibition examines their representation in works of art that picture Black women or that were produced by Black women. In doing so, the exhibition offers nuanced and multifaceted perspectives on the experiences of Black women primarily in the United States.
There Is a Woman in Every Color also places art works by Black women in conversation with one another, showcasing the diverse approaches these women take to exploring identity, personhood, artistic techniques, and influences. Throughout, the exhibition employs the term “Black” not to describe a monolith, but to convey the breadth of identities with ties to the African diaspora.
Works by Black women artists or those featuring representations of Black women make up less than one percent of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art’s collection, a gap all too common in museums around the country. While this exhibition is not a comprehensive exploration of Black women’s history and art, it challenges histories of marginalization, makes their presence visible, and proposes new directions for how museums collect and represent artists of color and the lived experiences of their communities.
The exhibition was curated by Elizabeth S. Humphrey ’14 and is supported by The Riley P. Brewster ’77 Fund for the Bowdoin College Museum of Art and the Roy A. Hunt Foundation.