This striking self portrait by Curlee Raven Holton includes a reference to another work of art—
Aaron Douglas' 1926 study for
. Holton juxtaposes
the expressionistic rendering of his own features against Douglas'
stylistic imagery. Holton explains that his 1999 painting,
The History Matters
, acknowledges the artistic legacy that preceded him.
"As a young African American artist there were few artists who symbolized in their work an uplifting and inspiration vision regarding the history, life, and future of African Americans to the broader public. As an artist, Aaron Douglas also personified the possibility of achieving recognition of our creative genius while receiving acclaim for his unique style of visual articulation. Douglas, like Henry Ossawa Tanner and Romare Bearden, was an art god to my generation of artists."
In addition to Professor Emeritus at Lafayette College, Curlee Raven Holton is also Executive Director of the David C. Driskell Center for the Study of the Visual Arts and Culture of African Americans and the African Diaspora at the University of Maryland-College Park. Holton founded the Experimental Printmaking Institute at Lafayette College, a program that supports artists and scholars working in printmaking, and in 2017, he opened the commercial print shop Raven Fine Art Editions in Williams Township, Pennsylvania.