Oct 27, 2022

HMA to Present Exhibit of Inspirational Women Paintings by Sassa Wilkes

Contact: (304) 529-2701

The Huntington Museum of Art will host the exhibit titled One Hundred Badass Women by Sassa Wilkes Presented by Leslie Petteys in Memory of Her Heroes, Grandmothers Anna C. Petteys & Fannie Christner, from Nov. 5 through Jan. 29, 2023. A free opening reception for this exhibit takes place at HMA on Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., starting with a presentation by the artist followed by refreshments.

Barboursville, W.Va., native Sassa Wilkes was inspired to create the 100 works in this exhibit following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on September 18, 2020. After completing that first portrait, Wilkes realized there were 100 days left in the year and there was time to create another 99 portraits of inspiring women. “This has been the darkest year I can remember, and I’m turning on the lights,” the artist said at the time.

Some of the women whose portraits the artist was inspired to paint for this exhibit include Maya Angelou, Frida Kahlo, Jane Goodall, Billie Jean King, and Lady Gaga, in addition to Huntington’s Jan Rader and the late Ruth Sullivan.

“As Sassa Wilkes worked on the portraits in this exhibit, the project became a collaboration between artist and audience, sparking important conversations on social media and beyond,” said John Farley, HMA Senior Curator / Exhibition Designer. “It quickly became apparent that an entire community of likeminded people was transfixed by the process, eager to channel their emotions into something cathartic, uplifting, and educational.”

Currently the Artist-in-Residence at West Edge Factory in Huntington, West Virginia, Sassa Wilkes earned a BFA and an MAT from Marshall University. For the past decade, they have taught art in the Cabell County School District, at Marshall University, and offered art lessons to their community through a private studio.

This exhibit is presented by Leslie Petteys in Memory of Her Heroes, Grandmothers Anna C. Petteys & Fannie Christner.

This exhibit is presented with support from The Isabelle Gwynn and Robert Daine Exhibition Endowment.

This program is presented with financial assistance from the West Virginia Department of Arts, Culture and History, and the National Endowment for the Arts, with approval from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts.

For more information on exhibits at the Huntington Museum of Art, visit hmoa.org or call (304) 529-2701. HMA is fully accessible.