Details

Title

Untitled (Look Back in Wonder at How I Got Over)

Artist/Maker

Nellie Mae Rowe (American, 1900–1982)

Date

1982

Medium

Crayon, marker, pen, and colored pencil on paper

Dimensions

18 x 23 1/2 inches

Credit

Gift of Judith Alexander

Accession #

2003.231

On View

Currently not on view

Said to have been her last, this work was inspired by the gospel anthem popularized by Mahalia Jackson, “How I Got Over.” Rowe’s strong yellow invokes “the streets of gold” that line “the homeland of the soul,” described in the song. Along with reds and greens, the yellow also recalls the colors of the Pan-African flag. Rowe’s central serpentine creature wears the double crown of ancient Egyptian kings, locating her scene within the Book of Exodus, which was often used in African American religion and visual art to frame their modern struggle for freedom. She casts Moses as a brown man parting the crosshatched Red Sea to finally reach the Promised Land.

Image Copyright

© Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta.

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