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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Edward C. Robison III.

Mississippi Wagon, 1937

From an edition of 4

Artist: Emma Amos (born 1938)
Date: 1992
15 1/2 x 20 1/4 in. (39.4 x 51.4 cm)
Framed: 23 × 29 in.
Medium: Oil monotype and screen print on paper
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2010.57
Inscriptions: recto, l.c., in pencil: 2/4 Mississippi Wagon - 1937
Signed: l.r., in pencil: Emma Amos 1992
Not on View
Accession Number: 2010.57
Provenance(Swann Galleries, New York, NY), October 7, 2010, lot 134; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2010
Label TextBorn in Atlanta, Georgia, during a period of intense racial segregation, Emma Amos mines her background as a Southern black woman in her work. At the center of this composition, a screen-printed photograph shows a horsedrawn wagon attended by several figures. During the artist’s youth, wagons like this one were used to transport crops such as tobacco and cotton—critical products of the Southern economy. In the post-slavery American South, black labor continued to play a vital role in the economic growth of the region.

The diagonal cross of the Confederate battle flag frames this photographic image. In its loose, painterly style, the depiction of the flag seems to imply that the experiences of black Americans continue to be framed by the effects of this symbol. Debate continues over Confederate images remaining visible in our government spaces and on store shelves. In her combined image, Amos asks us to consider the role our shared history plays in shaping the present.