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New Accessions Highlight: Detail of Brass Caster’s Environment, from African Series

There are a few new pieces in the back area of the Pleasant T. Rowland Gallery, which has hosted an ongoing recent acquisitions exhibit since July, 2020. We’ll highlight each of the new additions here, and encourage you to make an appointment to come see these new pieces in person. Today we’re featuring Detail of Brass Caster’s Environment, from African Series by Freida High.

Freida High Detail of Brass Caster's Environment


Freida High, American, b. 1946, Detail of Brass Caster’s Environment, from African Series, 1974, color woodcut, 15 1/4 x 20 1/2 in., gift of Evjue-Bascom Professor Freida High Wasikhongo Tesfagiorgis in memory of her 41 1/2 years of teaching African and African American Art History at UW-Madison, her work with Mr. Andrew Stevens, Curator of Works on Paper, and her larger history with the museum, 2019.18

An alumna and professor emeritus of UW-Madison, Freida High is an artist and historian specializing in feminist theory and critical race theory. She created this color woodcut following a visit to a traditional guild quarter in Benin City, Nigeria. About this experience the artist wrote, “Though I saw no green on the ground, no grass, I saw life all around. As the men worked, and women were not present, I saw signs of women’s lives in the presence of children (reproduction/nurturing), and women’s work with the textiles and clothing blowing in the wind (art and laundry).” High’s choice to recreate this memory using hand-carved woodblocks, materially related to the cut timber represented in the scene, connects her own work and artistry to the historical and cultural legacy she observed in Nigeria.