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Initiation, Liberia

1983 Loïs Mailou Jones Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1905 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1998 acrylic on canvas 35 1/4 x 23 1/4 in. (89.6 x 59.1 cm) Smithsonian American Art Museum Bequest of the artist 2006.24.7 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Jones was especially sensitive to the rights and roles of women. For many years she felt forced to ship rather than deliver her work in person to exhibitions so museums would not reject them because they had been done by a black female artist. In Initiation, Liberia, she interpreted the Sande society initiation ritual. The swath of white paint across the young woman’s eyes indicates her role as an initiate. The mask partly obscures her distinctive personality but combined with the receding profiles at the left of her head, suggests continuity over generations that is implied by the ritual ceremony.


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012

Keywords

Allegory - life - womanhood

Ethnic - African

Figure female - head

painting

paint - acrylic

fabric - canvas

About Loïs Mailou Jones

Born: Boston, Massachusetts 1905 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 1998

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Loïs Mailou Jones