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Edmonia Lewis (artist)



Edmonia Lewis was an American sculptor of Black and Native American (Anishinaabe/Ojibwa) heritage. Her subjects often related to her multiracial identity. She explored the abolition of slavery, Black emancipation, and Native American stories in her work. Lewis spent most of her career living in Rome, where she had more opportunities to succeed as a woman artist of color.

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Mary Edmonia Lewis, also known as "Wildfire" (c. July 4, 1844 – September 17, 1907), was an American sculptor. Born in Upstate New York of mixed African-American and Native American (Mississauga Ojibwe) heritage, she worked for most of her career in Rome, Italy. She was the first African-American and Native American sculptor to achieve national and then international prominence. She began to gain prominence in the United States during the Civil War; at the end of the 19th century, she remained the only Black woman artist who had participated in and been recognized to any extent by the American artistic mainstream. In 2002, the scholar Molefi Kete Asante named Edmonia Lewis on his list of 100 Greatest African Americans. Her work is known for incorporating themes relating to Black people and indigenous peoples of the Americas into Neoclassical-style sculpture.