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Family Ark

John Biggers, American, 1924 - 2001. Published by Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia.

Published in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, North and Central America


Color offset lithograph, triptych

Image (overall): 29 3/8 x 49 1/2 inches (74.6 x 125.7 cm) Image and sheet (left panel, 2009-61-7a): 29 3/8 x 13 15/16 inches (74.6 x 35.4 cm) Image and sheet (center panel, 1999-122-2): 29 3/8 x 21 9/16 inches (74.6 x 54.8 cm) Image and sheet (right panel, 2009-61-7b): 29 3/8 x 13 15/16 inches (74.6 x 35.4 cm)

© John T. Biggers Estate/ Licensed by VAGA, New York

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Print Revolving Fund, 1999; Gift of the Brandywine Workshop, Philadelphia, in memory of Anne d'Harnoncourt, 2009

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A distinguished muralist, painter, and teacher, Biggers founded the art department at what is now Texas Southern University in Houston in 1949. A key aspect of his legacy is his transmission of the importance of understanding and addressing one’s heritage to generations of African American students. In this composition, filled with symbols and objects from African and African American history, art, and religion, Biggers presents a family united in prayer in a triptych format resembling an altarpiece. The head wrap on the woman with outstretched arms at the center evokes the horned headdress of Hathor, the Egyptian goddess of love and protection.