3. Were there specific people from art history that influenced your work?
Elizabeth Catlett was one of the main
people that inspired me as a black female artist. She's just so amazing and
her work is so, so beautiful to me. At one point actually, I was supposed
to go to Mexico and study with her after I had graduated from BU and everything
had been arranged but my biological clock was ticking and I just wanted to
get married and have children at that time, so I did that instead. I took
a different path and I often wonder what would have happened if I had gone
with her. I would have had to know Spanish which I didn't and that was one of the things that discouraged me. Metta Warrick Fuller's work and the work of other Black female sculptors became important to me. I certainly didn't learn anything about people such as Augusta Savage at BU. They were not in the art history curriculum. I learned about them from my parents because they never stopped taking me to museums and they lost no time in finding any exhibition anywhere that had to do with black art, particularly black sculpture . They would take me, whether it was to Philadelphia or Washington D.C., it was time for the family to go on an excursion to see this fabulous exhibit. And so I was introduced to the Harmon exhibition in D.C. and a lot of other shows that let me understand the work of black artists who came long before me. And my mother, because she was an artist, and had studied at Howard under Lois Mailou Jones knew a lot of people in the art world. She also was such an
activist. She created an organization in Schenectady, where my parents live now, called Black Dimensions in Art and that organization is devoted to bringing black artists to Schenectady and having them exhibit in the museum there. She founded another organization, The Hamilton Hill Arts Center and that's just a very thriving institution which my sister runs at this point. So there was no way I could escape knowing about black artists, relating to them and frequently meeting them.