On Feb. 1, Google will celebrate 19th century American sculptor Edmonia Lewis with a new Doodle, depicting her working on one of her defining pieces.
Born to a father of Afro-Haitian descent and a mother of Mississauga Ojibwe and African-American heritage in 1844, Lewis was considered the first woman of African-American and Native American heritage to become a globally renowned fine arts sculptor, according to Google.
“Today, we celebrate her and what she stands for — self-expression through art, even in the face of adversity,” Google wrote.
Enrolled in Oberlin College at age 15 but unable to complete her degree because of the discrimination she faced, she later apprenticed under after Edward A. Brackett, a Boston sculptor who worked with some of the era’s best-known abolitionists, and found success.
Later, she would be based in Rome, where she started sculpting with marble, and was known to fuse those cultural themes with the Neoclassical style in her works. She continued to win praise for her artwork until her death in 1907.
According to Google, Lewis is depicted in the process of sculpting The Death of Cleopatra — one of her best-known pieces, which received acclaim as “the most remarkable piece of sculpture in the American section” of the Smithsonian American Art Museum. The vibrancy of the Google logo, meanwhile, reflects her Native American name, “Wildfire.”
Her life story, as well as her works on display in the Smithsonian, are now featured in Google Arts & Culture.
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