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"The Face of Celia" Lithograph


Unable to find a written description of Celia, I conceptualized based on her character and the late civil rights attorney, Mrs. Margaret Bush Wilson's vision. Celia's portrait was painted on a stretched canvas 38'' x 62''. The original oil painting depicts her eye's staring at the viewer, draped in a deep blue cape, to symbolize dignity and isolation. The naked trees represent the thousands of lynching suffered by Black people. The Callaway County court house and jail are in the background of the painting. They are also symbolic of the criminal justice system, which carried out the laws of persecution and injustice.

This project has reinforced my appreciation of our rich history. It has shown me that the obstacles of cruelty placed in our lives are our smile on the face of death. We are still here, succeeding and failing at problems in the twentieth century. Surely no problem in our lives can compare to the unjust circumstances of Celia's life. She was sold away from her mother, father, and brothers at fourteen, forced to endure repeated sexual attacks by her sixty year old slave master and hung for defending herself.

Her life should inspire us to be strong in our moments of despair. Celia never knew the freedom we have today.

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