Medicine and Transportation
- Thelma Johnson Streat (1911–1959)
- Medicine and Transportation, ca.1940
- Tempera and oil on paper mounting board
- Conservation funded by grant from the
- Bank of America Art Conservation Project
- Thelma Johnson Streat’s Medicine and Transportation is a mural study created to acknowledge and celebrate African American contributions to the fields of medicine and transportation. In 1940 she assisted Mexican muralist Diego Rivera during the creation of his Pan American Unity (commissioned for the Golden Gate International Exposition). Rivera’s frequent use of proletarian themes and complex tableaux had a profound influence on the young artist.
- In this work, Streat incorporated a variety of vignettes, including images of black Americans working in scientific laboratories, drafting plans, and performing skilled manual labor. The results of these endeavors—innovations in flight, the rail system, fuel equipment, and technology—are pictured in the top section of the mural.
- This mural study includes depictions of various transportation and scientific industries. It is divided into two fields, an upper and a lower. The upper depicts examples of transportation technology, including a railroad engine, a propeller plane, a blimp, and a combustible engine. They are painted using broad streaks of color, contrasted with blocks of black and white. The lower field depicts a scene of science and technology, with African-American figures at work in a laboratory, a metal refinery, and a mine, set against a background of industrial scenes. On the back in the top left-hand corner is a partial graphite sketch of the airplane.
- Data Source
- National Museum of African American History and Culture
- Created by
- Thelma Johnson Streat, American, 1911 - 1959
- Credit Line
- Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
- tempera and oil paint on paper mounting board
- H x W (unframed): 15 9/16 × 15 3/16 in. (39.6 × 38.6 cm)
- H x W x D (framed): 20 3/4 × 20 7/8 × 3 in. (52.7 × 53 × 7.6 cm)
- studies (visual works)