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 portrayals 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. This 100% cotton tote bag honors the impact of Hendricks’s iconicLawdy Mamaand the artist’s legacy as a pioneer in Black portraiture. — Heavy weight 100% natural cotton, 16 1/2 × 16 1/2 in., Gusset width: 3.7 in. Reinforced shoulder straps, one large main compartment.
Care Instructions: Always hand wash the garment with cold water and inside out, do not iron, and allow to hang to dry.
Barkley L. Hendricks 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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