Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


Really Free: The Radical Art of Nellie Mae Rowe


If You Whisper Whisper a Prayer

Cursive with orange and lead pencil: “if you whisper, whisper a prayer call god up tell him up and tell him what you want,” written over blue Sears fashions stamp.

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Object Details


Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982


before 1978


Crayon, pencil, and pen on cardboard


10 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches


Gift of Judith Alexander

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Rowe’s body of work is chock-full of catch phrases and sayings that were collected from all sources of media, whether faith-bound or otherwise. Not all of her -isms are meant to be humorous, but you can certainly imagine her saying this phrase with a wry grin. Didactic in nature, this work is perhaps more subdued than others but undoubtedly no less enthusiastic regarding her particular practice of Christianity.