African American artist Elizabeth Catlett contributed to the civil rights movement with politically engaged sculptures and prints. A feminist and teacher, she became the first female professor and head of the sculpture department at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico City in 1958. Made around the time of her retirement, this print renders a black woman’s dignified face as a positive image in black, while her negative image appears in white, perhaps reflecting the artist’s belief that racial difference is merely seeing two sides of the same coin. The multicolored row of figures references the color bar, a form of measurement for registering color accuracy in printing that is usually later removed. In this instance, Catlett’s inclusion of this graphic standard enacts an integration of the margins (or marginalized) that can be read as a metaphor for her commitments to global civil rights and equality.
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