and drawings by lifelong artistic partners Elizabeth Catlett
and Francisco Mora go on display at Payne Gallery next week,
prefaced by a talk by Catlett on December 4 in Foy Hall. Betty
and Pancho will showcase the smaller works of African-American
painter, sculptor, and printmaker Catlett and Mexican painter
and printmaker Mora, whose marriage and artistic collaboration
lasted 56 years, until the death of Mora earlier this year
at the age of 79.
Catlett, who celebrated her 87th birthday
in April, was born in 1915 in Washington, D.C. She is fiercely
proud of her African-American heritage, which includes three
grandparents who had been slaves.
of her work focuses on African-American women who have faced
and triumphed over oppression. The stoic woman in the straw
hat in Sharecropper is emblematic of these nameless
survivors who have maintained their wholeness under slavery,
poverty, and illiteracy. Their facial planes are derived from
African masks and express the timeless, ageless beauty of
the African people.
Refused admission to then-Carnegie Tech because
of her race, Catlett received her undergraduate degree in
art at Howard University and was the first person to earn
an M.F.A. from the University of Iowa, where she studied with
Grant Wood (American Gothic).
After teaching at Dillard University in New
Orleans, she used a Julius Rosenwald Fellowship to travel
to Mexico with her husband, African-American printmaker Charles
White. In Mexico City, she joined the Taller de Gráfica
Popular, an influential printmakers cooperative. There
she met Francisco Mora, whom she married in 1947.
Catlett has spent most of her working career in Mexico and
headed the Escuela Nacional de Artes Plásticas, part
of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México.
Mora, born in 1922, was part of the generation
that followed Diego Rivera, David Siqueiros, and José
Orozco, the great Mexican artists who celebrated the working
poor of their country in paintings and murals marked by bold
colors and strongly hewn shapes.
But though Moras subjects are similar,
his aesthetic is closer to that of the German expressionist
Käthe Kollwitz. Her subjects were the women weavers who
worked in the factory districts of Berlin; his are the miners
of Mexico. Both sketch the laboring hands and weary faces,
shabby clothes and rough implements of their people with dark
charcoal markings on a monotone ground.
The video Betty y Pancho will be shown while
the exhibit runs. It was made by their son, filmmaker Juan
Roberto Mora Catlett. The score is by anothe son, the renowned
and much-recorded jazz percussionist Francisco Mora Catlett.
and Pancho Information
5 -January 19, Payne Gallery
Opening night reception: 7:30 p.m.
A talk by Elizabeth Catlett: 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, December
4, Foy Hall
Hours: 11:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Closed
Mondays, major holidays, and Christmas break (December 26-January
Special hours: Open before the six Christmas Vespers services:
6:30-8:00 p.m. December 6-7 and 13-14, 3:30-5:00 p.m. December
8 and 15
Information: (610) 861-1680, weekends (610) 861-1667, or
Preview of Payne Gallery exhibit, works by Elizabeth
Catlett and Francisco Mora.
Student composer Melissa Spangenberg '03 writes
another piece for Christmas Vespers.
American premiere of documentary about Holocaust
rescuer Nicholas Winton.
Ashley Kimmet '03 and runner/Olympic aspirant Emily
Shertzer '02 win scholarships.
for Human Sundae competition benefit Habitat for
of faculty, staff, students.