Artwork Details

Mequitta Ahuja

b. 1976

Portrait of Her Mother
Oil on canvas
72 x 84 inches
Level 3, Gallery 3
Accession Number
Museum Purchase, Jim and Mary Nelson

About the Artwork

Mequitta Ahuja’s paintings and drawings embody the complexity of contemporary identity as well as historical self-portraiture. Ahuja, who is of South Asian and African American descent, uses personal photos and her own figure as source material for her paintings and drawings. In her words, these large-scale, personal explorations of self and identity show a woman of color articulating her own story and the story of painting.”

Ahuja painted Portrait of Her Mother during a period when her mother was battling cancer. I sought to make a body of paintings out of the love I felt for her,” said Ahuja. My mother did see a lot of the work and got to see how much she inspires me. In the painting, I am holding a drawing I’ve made of my mom, so you get the whole story from this one painting.” Visible within the studio depicted in the painting are two of her earlier paintings, monochrome red and blue canvases with figures inspired by photographs Ahuja took years before of herself and her mother dancing.