Collection Artwork
2017 30 pr w01
Syd Carpenter (born Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1953)
Ellis and Anna Mae Thomas [from Places of Our Own]
earthenware, acrylic, graphite
26 x 20 x 8 in.
Gift of the artist
United States, North America
Inscribed in marker, verso, upper right: “Ella Mae / Thomas”
Signed and dated in marker, verso, lower right, sideways along right edge: Syd Carpenter / 2010

Object Label

Ellis and Anna Mae Thomas is a portrait of a farm. Through the title, Syd Carpenter celebrates the farmers by name. In this way, she enters into the historical record people who are often ignored or unknown.

For Carpenter, land ownership offers roots, sustenance, and belonging. Her artwork uplifts contemporary African American stewards of the land while encouraging conversations on the history of black farmers in the United States. She investigates how systematic racism and government policies have hurt black farmers, who have lost more than 80 percent of their acreage over the last century.

From the exhibition: Give a damn. (June 30 – September 30, 2018)

Ongoing Research

Research on our collection is ongoing. If you have resources you’d like to share, please contact Associate Curator Rebecca McNamara.

Learn more

Give a damn.
Never Done: 100 Years of Women in Politics and Beyond
Rose White ’19 on Syd Carpenter
Syd Carpenter on Ellis and Anna Mae Thomas (from Places of Our Own), 2009-2010
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