“The Cotilda”

After finishing my Life Jackets project, I felt the pull to do a little painting again. During the months of making those jackets, I had done a lot of thinking about the unknown futures of individuals—now my thoughts turned to unknown pasts, especially relatives on my late father’s side. A genetic test revealed I was 6% black. Further research revealed I had ancestors who were free people of color who actually owned slaves themselves. Disturbing to say the least. A little research brought me to news that the remains of the last slave ship to reach America had been unearthed; this provided the inspiration for the painting “The Cotilda” which landed in Alabama in 1859.

“The Cotilda”
40 X 30, oil and charcoal on canvas

Click here to watch “Life Jackets,” the 8-minute film by Pamela Beere Briggs & William McDonald featuring Suzanne’s recent project.

Suzanne DeCuir
Suzanne DeCuir is an artist who over the past 20 years has been a painter, but recently she began working with textiles. She and her husband are raising three daughters, adopted from China, who have inspired her most recent work “Life Jackets.” She finds time to make art in the left-over margins of the day and will be sharing bi-monthly stories about how she grapples with what she wants to say and how to show it.

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