Skip to content

KIDS ROCKWELL Art Lab is open Thursday - Monday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., and closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Plan your visit

Heroes Lecture Series | From Kingship to Maternity: Deciphering the Ancient Iconography of Elizabeth Catlett with Kirsty Buchanan

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Location: The Rockwell Museum

With Kirsty Buchanan, executive director at 171 Cedar Arts Center

Members Free, Not-Yet-Members: $10, Students $5 | Registration encouraged
Location: The Rockwell Museum

*Note: For those unable to attend in person, lecture recordings will be posted on The Rockwell’s YouTube channel.

As one of the most celebrated American sculptors, Elizabeth Catlett used her art as social commentary and political criticism against injustice. Her bronzes reflect a quiet dignity that stand in contrast to the violent oppression women and people of color faced throughout the 20th century. Catlett’s bronze Mother & Child, currently on view at The Rockwell Museum, references the ancient iconography of both kingship and maternity. It draws upon the artistic traditions of pharaonic Egypt, the Edo culture of Africa, Christian iconography of the virgin and child, and presents a measured response to European Cubism. Catlett’s stylized figures reflect a pride in her black culture and identity as a woman, mother, and artist who challenged the boundaries of her generation.

About Kirsty Buchanan

Since 2015, Kirsty Buchanan has served as the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions for The Rockwell Museum. Her scholarship has focused on American paintings, drawings, and sculpture from 1850 to 1945 with a concentration on Hudson River School, early Modernism and Regionalism. Her post-graduate work was grounded in classical studies, and she served as a graduate research assistant for the Mugello Valley Archaeological Project’s excavations at Poggia Colla, an Etruscan bronze-age temple complex in central Italy. During her tenure at The Rockwell, she has overseen the reinterpretation of the permanent galleries and successfully co-authored the institution’s application to the Smithsonian Affiliates program. As the head of the curatorial department, Buchanan crafted a new Collection Development Plan in response to the institution’s change in mission which has guided more than 400 acquisitions to date.

Buchanan earned a M.A. and B.A. from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and completed the Dimensions of Leadership global training program at Corning Incorporated. She has been a grant review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and on the Ambassador Board for the Amon Carter Museum of American Art. Buchanan serves as art advisor to the Center for Mark Twain Studies’ historic house, on the Advisory Board for WSKG Media, as the collection committee chair for the Corning-Painted Post Historical Society, and is a lifetime member of the Association of Historians of American Art.

Photograph of Elizabeth Catlett's bronze sculpture "Seated Mother and Child," cast circa 2000.

Elizabeth Catlett

Catalogue Number 2017.8

Upcoming Events

See All Events
GlassFest: Free Art Lab Admission

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. | We're offering free admission to KIDS ROCKWELL Art Lab Friday, May 24 - Sunday, May 26, 9 a.m. - 5 p

SOLD OUT: Member Appreciation Event Featuring Artist William Wegman

5:30 - 7:30 p.m. | Join the waitlist. Advanced registration required by 5 p.m. on May 28 

Celebrate Pride with The Rockwell

9 a.m. - 7 p.m. | Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community by engaging with art and special activities!