Yvonne Studevan on how her family history relates to her artwork:
I could just feel my heart jump out of my chest. … I didn’t like speaking in front of a group when I was a kid. … I didn’t like writing reports. And I didn’t like history. You know, having to go back and study all those people. I was like who wants to remember “1492 somebody sailed the ocean blue”—you know, all those type things. It was not until I could relate the history to me that I really started developing my passion.
It’s like, when I watched movies about the Alamo as a child, I never knew that any people who were African Americans served in the Texas Revolution until I was contacted by somebody from Texas to say that, you know your ancestor was killed by Santa Anna and inherited 2040 acres of land and we need you to verify this. And I was like verify this?! I don’t know anything about this! And so, I started reading through all the wills—because Richard Allen had a will, and all of his children had wills. And I had copies of them. So, I read through my great-great-great grandmother’s will, and she said the property in Texas is to be sold for the education of my grandchildren. That was the thing that they needed. The stories are out there, and nobody knows about them. And I’m just like, well, I can tell the story orally and I can draw the pictures and let people know. I guess that’s my new passion in life.Read More