Nellie Mae Rowe

I came upon the work of Nellie Mae Rowe a few months ago. She was born in 1900 and lived in rural Georgia her whole life, and was a self-taught artist. She was a "twice-widowed Black woman of modest means who worked for three decades as a domestic" and drew from her imagination, dreams, and everyday world to create her art. The Museum of American Folk Art published this beautiful book, by Lee Kogan, in association with the University Press of Mississippi in 1998. Rowe said of her work that she was creating "something that hasn't been born yet". What is it that so inspires me about this work? The imagery is so immediate and fresh. The subjects are so real. The color choices are honest. Maybe it's that I get a sense of her wonder and joy at being alive. Life was not easy for her, and yet she held on to her creative life and made it shine and give her what she wanted. Bless her soul, as my southern Grandma would have said!

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

Amazing work! Now, what part of the south is your grandma from? (did you detect that little southern accent just there?) Mine were both from Alabama. I'm a good ole' Tennessee girl myself :-)

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