Untitled (Nellie Sitting by the Window)
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Nellie Mae Rowe, American, 1900–1982
Color photograph, crayon, and pencil on board
14 1/2 x 19 1/2 inches
Gift of Judith Alexander
(c) Estate of Nellie Mae Rowe/High Museum of Art, Atlanta
While Rowe was making her Playhouse, art environments attracted attention from scholars studying the African diaspora. Rowe’s use of “haint” blue on the exterior of her home, which she depicts here in a richer indigo tone, was among the practices that were thought to show the retention of African traditions. The Congolese belief that evil spirits, which became known in the American South as “haints,” could not cross sky or water is thought to have been the source of the many exteriors, roofs, and thresholds painted blue throughout the region.