Saturday, February 1, 2020

Forever Free - Edmonia Lewis

We just learned about the The Woman of Samaria (Rebecca at the Well) - William Henry Rinehart.

Another famous American sculpture is Forever Free by Edmonia Lewis in 1867.

Edmonia was born in New York in 1844, while there was still slavery in America.
Her father was part African and Haitian, and her mother was part African and Native American.

When she grew up in America it was very difficult for her because life was not fair for women, African Americans or Native Americans.
She was not allowed to go to school or get jobs that men or white people were allowed to have.
When she was nine years old, her parents died so she went to Niagara Falls to live for a while with her two aunts that were Native American, and she changed her name to "Wildfire".

When she was 15 she was sent to a school in Ohio where they allowed women and African American people. She was still not treated very nice and at one point some people tried to put her in jail saying that she poisoned some other students. They did not even let her graduate school.

In 1864 when she was 20 years old she moved to Boston and started making sculptures.
The Civil War was going on, so she started making sculptures of Civil War heroes like Robert Gould Shaw.
Later on she saved up enough money to move to Rome where she could work with other famous sculptors.

Her statue called "Forever Free" was made in 1867, just after the Civil War was over.
It shows a man standing up who was in chains but is now free.
A woman is kneeling next to him praying, and she is dressed in nice clothes.
She had the woman in clothes because a lot of sculptures of women at the time had women not wearing much, and she thought that made people only think about what women looked like.

Her sculptures became so famous that President Ulysses S. Grant asked for her to come and make a sculpture of him.

(from: wikipedia - edmonia lewis)

Kid Facts - Blast from the past: Ellora - Hindu Caves