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Mother and Child

Elizabeth Catlett (1915–2012) Mother and Child, 1993 Mahogany (wood) 67 1/2 × 16 1/2 × 15 1/2 in. The Studio Museum in Harlem; Museum purchase 1996.13

The mother and child subject was a recurring motif throughout Elizabeth Catlett’s seventy-year career. A printmaker and sculptor who lived in Mexico from 1946, Catlett depicted the beauty and strength of working-class African Americans and Mexicans. Her activism extended into the political realm, leading her to become a Mexican citizen in the 1960s and be declared an “undesirable alien” by the U.S. government. She was only able to attend the opening of her 1971 solo exhibition at The Studio Museum in Harlem after obtaining a special visa.