Ife (Reclining Figure)

Elizabeth Catlett
American (b. 1915)
Ife (Reclining Figure), 2002

Throughout her long and highly established career, Elizabeth Catlett has remained committed to visually expressing and advancing the causes of African- and Latin-Americans, especially women. The title of Catlett's sculpture refers to the Ife people and to the birth of their culture, which flourished in West Africa from the twelfth to fifteenth century.

The granddaughter of slaves, Catlett studied at Howard University and received the first Master of Fine Arts awarded from the University of Iowa. She moved permanently to Mexico in the late 1940s, and in 1959 became the first woman to head the sculpture department at the National School of Fine Arts in Mexico City.