Bowdoin College Museum of Art

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Image of Benin Woman III 8372


David C. Driskell (Eatonton, Georgia, 6/7/1931 - 4/1/2020)


Benin Woman III

Creation Date



20th century


15 5/8 in. x 11 1/2 in. (39.69 cm. x 29.21 cm.)

Object Type


Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

color woodcut on paper

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Art Purchase Fund


This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

David Driskell commonly depicted women of African descent in his work, reflecting the influence the women in his family had on his life. In Benin Woman III, Driskell incorporates mask iconography, inspired by Benin masks that depicted the Queen Mother. However, the print was not intended to replicate the mask type in any straightforward way. As if to imbue the print with women’s presence, he bifurcates the face with a more human side (left) and a mask side (right). Driskell incorporates hair, jewelry, and a flower to emphasize the hybrid figure’s femininity, details often incorporated into his works that feature women. Driskell’s work often reckoned with his own relationship to the continent and explored his African roots. By centering women in this composition, and recalling masks of the Queen Mother subject, Driskell considers women of African descent and their role as progenitors of humanity.

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