Moodooja Indian Woman Back in Slavery Time

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    Photo: Stephen Pitkin/Pitkin Studio
Housepaint on wood
34 x 21.5 inches
Collection of
Souls Grown Deep Foundation

Mose Tolliver often used appropriated images from print culture to inform his paintings. In this piece, Tolliver was inspired by an etching on the cover of a French magazine given to him by the Alabama artist Nall, who was living in France at the time. Drawn to the cover woman, who was clearly of mixed race and was shown surrounded by feathers and a skull in a tropical scene, Tolliver chose to depict his version of the woman in the time of slavery. With this temporal relocation, Tolliver indicates that African Americans have been a mixture of races since they were brought to this country and that racial creolization continues today. Any idea of an African American people or culture must take into account a variety of influences, and is thus more complicated than many people’s perceptions allow.