V

Narratives of African American Art and Identity

Margo Humphrey

The Last Bar-B-Que, 1989

Lithograph

26" x 38.5"


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The Last Bar-B-Que

The Last Bar-B-Que is one of the most well-known lithographs of master printmaker Margo Humphrey. It required nearly three years of thought, during which Humphrey looked at other representations of the Last Supper by artists from Lorenzetti to Emil Nolde and considered what tone the potential work should possess. In the final version, The Last Bar-B-Que embraces many sources and traditions to create a scene that is meaningful, humorous, and visually beautiful. Like traditional representations of the Last Supper, Christ is shown seated at a table, surrounded by his disciples. Humor can be found in the title and in the watermelon and chicken that join the traditional bread and wine; however, the title also indicates a shift from a European American perspective to an African American one. The apostles and Christ are African American, while the presence of the pyramid and bright patterns of the clothing and the overall composition suggest African influences. Humphrey commented, "The Last Bar-B-Que is a serious piece: a rewriting of history through the eyes of my ancestry, a portrayal of a savior who looks like my people."  J. S.

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