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The museum is the former home of Ethel Wright Mohamed. Her house is an enchanting  place, thought first and foremost  in terms of  a home. The unusual charm in this 1906 home also reflects the taste and style of Ethel and her husband  Hassen Mohamed. It is a fitting tribute to their labor of love in keeping it alive for all to see.  In her later life she lived in her studio on the grounds.

Curator, Carol Mohamed Ivy, daughter of Ethel Mohamed, guides visitors through the exhibit. She gives a very personal and first-hand glimpse into the delightful stories behind each piece.  

Ethel Mohamed fashioned each stitchery from her family's daily life or imagined events. The tour through the museum reveals  high-ceilinged rooms covered with "memory pictures" which hang from floor to ceiling on almost every wall.The sketches have been filled with very intricate, fanciful and colorful designs to capture treasured moments of time. You will love the numerous decorative trees, done with vivid imagination, all different and yet seeming to come from the same dream world.

You will begin to feel that you know the eight children who appear again and again as she captures them for all time in her favorite memories. In Ethel's fanciful imagination her children also appear in forms and symbols other than themselves. You will be surprised and wonderfully entertained by her loving and whimsical imagination.

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Previous Showings of Ethel Wright Mohamed's Stitchery

Ethel Mohamed's work is represented in the Smithsonian Institute along with numerous other awards and recognitions for her achievements. She received the 1991 Mississippi Governor's Lifetime Achievement Award for "Excellence in the Arts."

Ethel Mohamed's association with the Smithsonian began when she was asked to participate in the:
 1974 Festival of American Folklife in Washington, DC
1976 Festival of American Folklife in Washington, DC

Ethel Wright Mohamed designed the cover for the Smithsonian-National Park Service Bicentennial Festival Program Book
The tapestry commissioned by the Smithsonian hung throughout the summer in the reception area of the Festival grounds on the National Mall. It then became a part of the permanent collection of the Division of Textiles in the Smithsonian National Museum of History and Technology

'Increasingly large numbers of Americans over the years have come to know and value your unique tapestries. Those of us who have come to know you as a friend understand that your art is a reflection of your depth, warmth and personal insight. On the occasion of this Bicentennial event, your many friends at the National Museum wish to pay tribute to a valued and deeply respected American artist of whom we are all proud.'

Ralph Rinzler
Director
Festival of American Folklife
Division of Performing Arts
July 1, 1976

Her work has been exhibited at the Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution - December 3,1976 through July 10, 1977

Stitch Pictures by Ethel Mohamed

'After the death of her Lebanese husband in 1965 , Ethel Wright Mohamed began to create needlework pictures and this year one of her works depicted the Bicentennial activities of the Smithsonian's Festival of American Folklife.

Most of her elaborately detailed pictures are about life at home in Belzoni, Mississippi, and among the twelve extraordinarily colorful selections in this exhibition are "Waiting for the Stork  "with the midwife and "My Pot of Gold"---the Mohammed's' treasure house of children. There also are scenes of the colonization of America, The Revolutionary War, and a Lebanese marital fable.

 At Renwick

Doris W. Bowman

In Mississippi

Ethel Wright Mohamed created a tapestry based on her impressions of the 1976 Folklife Festival in Washington, DC. It now hangs in the State Historical Museum in the Old Capitol at Jackson, Mississippi

Mississippi Department of Archives and History

Jackson, Mississippi  published  a book of stitchery pictures by Ethel Wright Mohamed entitled My Life in Pictures.1976

Edited by Charlotte Capers and Olivia P. Collins

 

'Looking back on the venerable traditions of embroidery documented in the Old Testament Books of Exodus and Ezekiel and portrayed in the earliest Egyptian tomb paintings ,it  is gratifying to encounter a gifted, na´ve artist who documents her family life and personal impressions with open warmth and candor in the midst of out complex, technological society.'

Taken from the  Foreword by:
S. Dillon Ripley
Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution
Washington, D.C.  ,1976

 

'The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is pleased to recognize and honor the enchanting artistry of Mrs. Ethel Wright Mohamed. Her fresh presentation, which provides a link for seven generations, confirms the value and the importance of historic preservation in the United States'.

                   

                                                                      Taken from the Introduction by:

                                                                                        Byrle Kynerd

                                                                                        Director, State Historical Museum

                                                                                        Mississippi Department

                                                                                        Of Archives and History   1976

The Mississippi department of Archives and History is deeply indebted to Mrs. Mohamed for her generosity in permitting the publication of her "pictures," with captions in her own tape-recorded word. As this is written Mrs. Mohamed continues to stitch, and it is good to know that more of her unique documentary art is being created.'

Taken from the Acknowledgments by:

                                                                 Elbert R. Hilliard

                                                                                          Director, Mississippi Department

                                                                                          of Archives and History   1976

She was invited to attend and her stitchery work  was exhibited at:

 

The 1976 Bicentennial Festival in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

 

The 1982 Worlds Fair in Knoxville , Tennessee

 

The 1984 World's Fair in  New Orleans, Louisiana  

 

SITES

Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service

November 1987 - January 1990

The Grand Generation

Memory, Mastery , Legacy

'This seminal exhibition evokes the culture and creativity of older Americans and advances our understanding of these elders, who comprise our society's premier cohort of tradition bearers. Through the objects, images, and words of the exhibition, we explore the beauty and meaning of these mature talents.'

                               Taken from the  Foreword:

                                                     Peter Seitel

                                                                                                   Director

                                                                                                   Office of Folklife Programs

                                                                                                    Ellen Rose                           

                                                                                                    Acting Director

                                                                                                    Sites

'Most of all, we are grateful to the folk artists and lenders for so generously sharing with us their knowledge and their art. We hope this book and exhibition will be a meeting ground on which viewers and readers may encounter not only objects of enduring beauty  and worth but the persons, communities, and lives in which they are rooted.'

Taken from Acknowledgements:

Mary Hufford

Marjorie Hunt

Steven Zeitlin

Ethel Mohamed 

Belzoni, Mississippi 

 

"Three Stages of Life  Embroidery , 1984

42 3/4" L  x 25 1/4" W

Lent by the Jackson Heart Clinic, Jackson, Mississippi

 

Depression Days Embroidery, ca.. 1970

17" L x 25 3/4 " W

 

The Storm   Embroidery,  ca.  1970

28" L x 21 1/2' W

The New Baby  Embroidery, ca.. 197

More about Sites

'On her needlework pictures, Ethel Wright Mohamed (b.1906 of Belzoni, Mississippi, embroiders scenes recalled from her own past. Sacred harp singing, other folk traditions, and experiences from her life and her family's life in Mississippi provide illustrations of a place and a way of life. Thus her work is uniquely southern.'

                                                                                       Encyclopedia of Southern Culture

                                                                                                     Charles Reagan Wilson 

                                                                                              &

                                                                                                 William Ferris, Coeditors

She was featured in the book

 LOCAL COLOR

A sense of Place in Folk Art 

 by  William Ferris

 

With a foreword by Robert Penn Warren

developed by the 

Center for Southern Folklore

edited by Brenda McCallum

McGraw -Hill Book Company

1982

Four Women Artists

Film  produced by William Ferris

 

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