The Soprano at the Mourning Easter Wake of 1968

images for The Soprano at the Mourning Easter Wake of 1968
Gallery Label
Daniel Pressley learned the art of wood carving when he was a boy, from his grandfather who was a former slave. In South Carolina during the first half of the twentieth century, African-American families lived under the pall of racism. Pressley moved to New York City in 1953, like many African Americans of the era, in search of a better life. He became deft at compressing profound moments of human emotion into tight, controlled carvings. This carving shows a singer at the wake for Martin Luther King Jr., just after he was assassinated in 1968. Her clasped hands and anguished expression evoke the widespread passion and grief over the death of a hero to black Americans.
Luce Center Label
Daniel Pressley believed fervently in the civil rights movement, which he experienced in New York in the 1950s and 60s. This carving shows a singer at the wake for Martin Luther King Jr. after his assassination in 1968. The figure’s clasped hands and anguished expression evoke the passion and grief that many people felt over the tragic death of a hero to black Americans.
Topic
Ethnic\African-American
Performing arts\music\voice
Ceremony\holiday\Easter
Figure female\waist length
Ceremony\funeral
History\United States\Civil Rights Movement
Homage\King, Martin Luther
Smithsonian American Art Museum
Artist
Daniel Pressley, born Wasamasaw, SC 1918-died New York City 1971
Credit Line
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Chuck and Jan Rosenak and museum purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment
Medium
varnished walnut relief
Dimensions
35 1/4 x 18 x 1 in. (89.5 x 45.7 x 2.5 cm.)
See more items in
Smithsonian American Art Museum Collection
On View
Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1st Floor, West Wing
1968
Type
Sculpture-Relief
Folk Art
Object number
1997.124.78