The New York Times reported today that “Elizabeth Catlett, whose abstracted sculptures of the human form reflected her deep concern with the African-American experience and the struggle for civil rights, died on Monday at her home in Cuernavaca, Mexico, where she had lived since the late 1940s. She was 96. “
Elizabeth was among the first three students to be awarded the MFA degree at the State University of Iowa, and the first African American woman. Her 1940 thesis is in the University Archives; it is a discussion of her sculpture in stone, “Negro Mother and Child.” SUI (as it was known until 1964) was the first public university in the U.S. to accept creative works in lieu of written theses for the Master of Fine Arts degree.
Here’s a link to the New York Times obituary. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/04/arts/design/elizabeth-catlett-sculptor-with-eye-on-social-issues-dies-at-96.html