Georgetown’s University Art Collection recently acquired two prints by artist Delita Martin, Let Me Breathe and Say Our Names, created in the aftermath of the tragic killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others at the hands of white police officers last summer. Art Curator LuLen Walker discovered the prints when she attended Black Women of Print: A Virtual Studio Visit and Conversation, a virtual presentation by Martin and two other emerging artists held in conjunction with the annual Fine Print Fair last fall.
Since then, Walker had the opportunity to speak with Martin about the story behind the prints. They depict the artist’s teenage son and niece, using a complex blend of techniques that contribute to their power and beauty. Martin used gelatin and woodblock printing in a layered effect, together with drawing and painting. Both portraits incorporate hand-stitched elements, and Let Me Breathe” also includes sewn-on decorative papers.
Delita Martin was born in Conroe, Texas in 1972. She is currently based in Huffman, Texas. Martin received her BFA in drawing from Texas Southern University and MFA in printmaking from Purdue University. Formally a member of the fine arts faculty at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Martin is currently working as a full-time artist in her studio.
Martin’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally. Delita Martin: Calling Down the Spirits held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, 2020 was Martin’s first solo museum exhibition. Her work toured the country (2016-17) in the Crystal Bridges Museum exhibition, State of the Arts: Discovering American Art Now which included 101 artists from across the United States. In 2015 she was featured in the International Review of African American Art as one of sixteen “African American Artists to Watch” who are gaining national and international recognition.
Permanent Collections (selected): Bradbury Art Museum, C.N. Gorman Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum, David Driskell Center, Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minnesota Museum of American Art, National Museum of Women in the Arts, Petrucci Family Foundation, Studio Museum in Harlem, Thrivent Financial, William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, and the U.S. Embassy, Nouakchott, Mauritania.
(Source: Georgetown University Press Release)