AUNT MATTIE - Acrylic on 12 x 12" Canvas. Outsider Folk Art by African American Folk Artist Stacey Torres


My Aunt Mattie was not my real aunt. She was a very close family friend - an unlikely friendship that began when my mother was in a deadly car accident in 1949, traveling from Lincoln University (Jefferson City, MO) to Wilberforce University in Ohio. She and several students were traveling together when they were involved in the collision on U.S. 40 between Knightstown, IN and New Castle, IN.

When the ambulance arrived, they refused to take my mother, the lone survivor, to the hospital because she was black. As she lay bleeding on the street, a local funeral home offered to transport her to the hospital in their hearse. Because her family lived a great distance away in Canada, my mother was alone in a hospital in a small town where she knew no one - and where she ultimately knew from experience - that the color of her skin would alienate her further.

It was then that she met Mattie Whitfield, an older African American woman who sometimes went to Henry County Hospital to volunteer. Learning there was a young black girl there with no family, she immediately took it upon herself to love and care for my mother until she was healed, and family could get to Indiana (my grandfather worked as a porter for the Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railroads; during those days, he and the family could only travel at certain times).

When my mother was well enough to leave the hospital, Mattie and her husband, Herbie, took her home with them where they cared for her further. Finally, the family arrived from Canada, and they (my grandparents, aunt and uncle), were embraced by the Whitfields and they all lived together in their 2-bedroom home for an additional 6 weeks, and became "family." Mattie became "Aunt Mattie," and she was an integral part of our lives for the next 20 years. But, that's another story and another painting ...

This portrait of Aunt Mattie with some purple lilies, was painted with acrylic paint and enhanced with silver glitter paint on 12 x 12" (deep) canvas, making framing unnecessary). This is an original, one-of-a-kind painting, signed, and wrapped carefully for shipment to you (included in shipping cost). I am certain it will be lovely hanging on your favorite wall among your art collection.

by Stacey Torres 2017

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