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The Windows Invitational engages artists in transforming the dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that articulate the lobby and courtyard plaza of our signature Rafael Moneo building. The third commission in the series is by Alexandria Smith, head of painting at the Royal College of Art in London, formerly assistant professor of painting at Wellesley College.
Smith’s Seed to Harvest foregrounds portraits of Wellesley’s first African American graduates and borrows its title from the “Patternist” series of novels by Octavia Butler, stories that explore themes of science fiction, humanity, and the ethical and unethical uses of power. Rendering with hand-drawn and computer techniques, Smith embellishes original photographic portraits of five alumnae: Dr. Harriett Alleyne Rice (Class of 1887), Ethel M. Caution-Davis (Class of 1912), Katherine Naomi Robinson (Class of 1922), Clarissa Scott Delany (Class of 1923), and Jane Bolin (Class of 1928). She adds symbolic elements derived from her own visual vocabulary and from quilt patterns used to convey messages along the Underground Railroad (there were two stops in the town of Wellesley) to create the unique crests that adorn each with an honorific flourish.
Curated by Lisa Fischman, Ruth Gordon Shapiro ’37 Director.
Wellesley’s Friends of Art at the Davis