Elizabeth Colomba (b. 1976) Daphne, 2015 Oil and gold leaf on canvas 36× 24 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase with funds provided by Neda Young 2017.2
In her series “Mythology,” Elizabeth Colomba continues in a long tradition of artists looking to Greek mythology for inspiration. Here, she references the tale of the nymph (a woman-like mythological creature) Daphne and the gods Cupid and Apollo. Colomba reshapes the myth by positioning a black woman as the primary subject of the painting, thereby countering the erasure of black bodies from historical narratives. In Daphne, Colomba represents the nymph with an arrow in her hand, statuettes of Cupid and Apollo on the table behind her, and further in the background, the branches of a laurel tree, into which Daphne magically transforms during the final events of the myth.