Bearden 100

#17 Lady and the God of the River
By Romare Bearden

Selected by Laura James

Lady and the God of the River - 1987, Acrylic on canvas

I love this piece because of the way the woman is reclining as she waits for the river god… beautifully Black and composed. Even with the all the bright light of the god and the water her figure dominates the piece. Bearden clearly knows the power of women.

Laura James

Bronx, NY

Grandmother, Acrylic on canvas, 2008, 28” x 34”

Laura James paints women, families, and scenes of everyday life; blending intricate patterns, text, vibrant colors and sometimes surreal imagery into what she calls "art for the people". She is currently working on a series of paintings titledNannies and Other Mothers where she attempts to shed light on a subject long neglected by popular culture. She tells the stories of countless women who leave their families to come to America, UK, or Canada in search of a better life, taking jobs as domestic workers."Although Caribbean people are intimately familiar with the subject, we never talk about it." With this work James is trying to start the conversation.

Born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, Laura is a self-taught painter of Antiguan heritage. Working as a professional artist and illustrator for almost twenty years, she is best known for her illustrations in the Book of the Gospels lectionary published in 2000 by LTP on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church. An award winning edition of the four gospels, it includes 34 paintings rendered in the Ethiopian Christian Art style which over the years James has made her own. The book is used worldwide by numerous Christian denominations and her religious art is at the forefront of the movement toward a more inclusive representation of Biblical figures. James has recently expanded her repertoire to include sacred images from other traditions including Buddhism, Yoruba, ancient Egyptian themes and Islam.