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The Operation

c. 1980
Ellen Powell Tiberino, American, 1937 - 1992

Ellen Powell Tiberino was a painter, draftsperson, and printmaker who lived and worked in Philadelphia. Her artistic subjects were often drawn from everyday life, particularly the experiences of Black people in her community.

Tiberino’s fourteen-year battle with cancer greatly affected her artistic practice and choice of subjects, and intensified her attachment to the world around her. This drawing—a virtuoso display of the artist’s skill with a pencil—is not a literal depiction of doctors in surgery, but rather the artist’s “mental impression” of this environment and the fears and forces that motivated her. Here, she envisioned an operation as a scene of frantic activity, with doctors and nurses crowded around a patient while Death mocks their efforts at far right.


Object Details

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