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Photo: Kerry Kehoe


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Mary Frances Whitfield, a self-taught artist, was born 1947 in Birmingham, Alabama. She is one of America’s important visionary artists who is known for her affecting portrayals of the history of her ancestors’ heritage during the slavery epoch. She paints with a passion poignant scenes of America’s morally challenged history that capture the bold and human dignity of African-Americans whether it is an interior scene of a mother cradling her baby, sweet little girls playing double-dutch jump rope outdoors, or a profound lynching scene that transcends sorrow, compassion, and beauty.

Her work is in collections including the Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Linda Lee Alter Collection), Philadelphia, PA; Raw Vision, London, UK; and Oprah Winfrey.

Mary F. Whitfield is a recipient of artist-in-residence, American Folk Art Museum, NYC, 1996; residency at the MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH, 1997; and grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, NYC, 2000. She is featured in publications including Revelations: Alabama’s Visionary Folk Artists, Crane Hill Publishers, 1994, with an introduction by Gail Andrews, director of Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; and Raw Vision, Winter 2004/5, with an article by Gail Andrews, “Mary Whitfield: African American life in the Deep South.” Whitfield’s artwork was presented in Outsider Art Fairs 2018 and 2019, NYC, by Phyllis Stigliano Art Projects, Brooklyn, NY. Phyllis Stigliano is the artist’s agent; she has been working with Mary since 1990.

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