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One of Barkley Hendricks’s earliest portraits, Lawdy Mama imbues the Black feminine form with integrity, while also alluding to Byzantine and medieval religious icons.
Elevating the Black figure to a subject worthy of veneration, the artist draws a visual comparison between his sitter and iconic depictions of Kathleen Cleaver, Angela Davis, and other women of the Black Power movement in the 1960s. The painting, which depicts the artist’s cousin, also comments on the overall lack of painted representations of Black bodies.
Size: 14.1 × 17.3 in.
Material: 308gsm 100% natural cotton
Original Artwork Information:
Barkley L. Hendricks (1945–2017)
Lawdy Mama, 1969
Oil and gold leaf on canvas
53 3/4 × 36 1/4 in.
The Studio Museum in Harlem; gift of Stuart Liebman, in memory of Joseph B. Liebman 1983.25
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