The acrylic paintings created by Calida Garcia Rawles have graced magazine covers and even the 2019 novel The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Her paintings engage the viewer with their grand scale, (The Space in Which We Travel measures a massive 7’ x 12’) soothing colors and an unparalleled level of detail. Rawles depicts African-American figures floating in water, an element of nature that the artist feels posesses the ability to heal the spirit. The history of racism related to water does present Rawles with a means to explore the current cultural and political climate surrounding racism, and also to celebrate the resiliency and strength of African-American culture.
Discussion for Kids
Rawles often depicts her subjects wearing white garments. What might be her reason for her color choice?
The artist regards water as a healing element. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Look at each painting above and make up a story for the characters depicted. Where are they swimming? Why are they in the water?
Take a full minute to look at one of the paintings. After focusing on the painting for this extended amount of time, what emotions do you notice feeling?