"She Who Is Brown" by Delita Martin
In honor of Black History Month in February, a new exhibit in Mullins Library by UALR professor Delita Martin celebrates the diversity among women of color.
The exhibit, titled "She Who Is Brown," is a series of relief prints featuring the faces of African American women in earth tones such as amber, mahogany, and Indian red. The faces are framed by domestic objects, such as chairs, Mason jars, and picket fences, which both symbolize their "connection to daily life" and also refer to larger, cultural symbols. For instance, Martin says the "Mason jar is used to represent the illusion of freedom, and the picket fence represents the American Dream of wealth and stability."
Each of the relief prints is given a name, with the subtitle explaining the definition of that name. Thus, "Aarti" means "she who reaches for the spirit," "Hakima" means "the wise one," and "Leta" means "her soul is free." Martin uses the same base image for the faces in several prints and hand-written text from the antebellum period to invoke a "cultural memory," in which "the faces belong not just to one woman who lived before, but come from many."
Through such metaphors, Martin creates a "visual language" to challenge the viewers to "reflect on a deeper meaning behind the surface." Martin herself defines the series as "a gathering of sisters, mothers, daughters and women who show a solid resolve to survive life's obstacles and to define love and passion."
Delita Pinchback Martin was born in Conroe, Texas in 1972. She began her higher education at Texas Southern University, where she received a BFA in drawing. After completing her undergraduate degree, she worked as an independent artist for several years. She later returned to school and earned a MFA in drawing and printmaking from Purdue University.
Her work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally, and her prints and drawing are included in several private and public collections. Currently, she teaches courses in drawing and art appreciation at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Pulaski Tech College. In addition to teaching, she is the founding director of Black Box Press, an open studio printshop in Little Rock, Arkansas.
"She Who Is Brown" will be on display in Mullins Library through the end of February. For more information, contact the dean's office at 479-575-6702.
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