Diasporal Rhythms
Elizabeth Catlett
September 27, 2023
Artist Profile

Elizabeth Catlett

Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), was an African American sculptor and graphic artist known for her depictions of the Black-American experience in the 20th century, which often focused on the female experience. She explored themes relating to race and feminism in her range of sculpture, paintings, and prints. Catlett highlighted the struggle of black people with her art.

She was born as Alice Elizabeth Catlett in Washington, D.C. on April 15, 1915. She was a granddaughter of enslaved people and was born into a middle-class Washington family. Her father was a professor of mathematics at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. She studied at Howard University in Washington, D.C. where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in design and later earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa.