Google Pays Tribute To Sculptor Edmonia Lewis With BHM Doodle
Google does it again! Today’s homepage doodle is in honor of Edmonia Lewis, an African-American and Native American artist who was recognized around the world for her work as a sculptor.
There’s a link to more information about Lewis on the search engine’s homepage. There’s some really great stuff there. Lewis was the daughter of an African-American man and a Native American woman (Chippewa). She was born in 1844 (when slavery was still legal). She was fortunate to have been born free in New York and she even attended Oberlin College in Ohio in 1859 — but had to leave school prematurely after being accused of poisoning her white roommates. She was acquitted of those charges but was still assaulted by a mob of white vigilantes. After fleeing Ohio, her brother helped her move to Boston to study with sculptor Edward Brackett. While in Boston she began sculpting portraits of abolitionists — and through the sale of busts of abolitionist John Brown and Colonel Robert Gould Shaw, (the Civil War leader depicted in the film ‘Glory,’) Lewis funded her first trip to Europe in 1865. Lewis visited London, Paris, and Florence and eventually moved to Rome. She’s also known for sculpting scenes depicted in the Bible, poetry and historical stories — including her most famous work “The Death of Cleopatra,” which is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in D.C.
The artist behind today’s doodle is Sophie Diao. Sophie has been designing Google Doodles for the past three and a half years. She is a 2013 graduate of the California Institute of the Arts where she majored in Character Animation. As she has always been inspired by both journalism and American History, she combines both interests to create.
“I started by researching Edmonia Lewis’ life story – how she got interested in sculpting and what her legacy was,” says Diao. “The fact that she intentionally chose to sculpt powerful female figures was exciting to me. I really wanted to show her in the process of sculpting, emphasizing her small stature (she was only four feet tall!) and one of her most famous pieces, ‘The Death of Cleopatra.’ I chose this piece to highlight in particular not only because it’s such a striking sculpture, but it depicts a female commander & Egyptian queen. I found her choice of subject matter extremely powerful. Her Native American name was “Wildfire,” which I tried to incorporate by making the Google letters especially fiery.”
Gotta love it. This woman was a real trailblazer.