Ruth G. Waddy

Ruth G. Waddy [1909 –2003] printmaker, activist and editor, Ms. Quotidian

Willanna Ruth Gilliam was born on January 7, 1909 in Lincoln, Nebraska and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She lived near the Minneapolis Museum of Art, which was her first introduction to the art world.

Waddy was in her fifties when she turned to a career in art, and is known for creating black and white, small scale, linoleum cut prints depicting still life and quotidian stories about Black interiority.

Waddy embarked on a cross-country bus trip to gather works for Prints by American Negro Artists (1967), a project funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. With Samella Lewis she edited Black Artists on Art (1969 and 1971). Waddy and Lewis are considered to be two of the "founding mothers" of the Black Arts Movement in California. Her 1969 linocut print, The Key, is considered to be one of the most prominent pieces in the movement

"The Ruth Waddy Sketchbook," uploaded to YouTube by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, July 31, 2011.

Selected Links

Waddy, Ruth G., interview by Karen Anne Mason, October 1990–April 1991 and July 26–28, 1991. African American Artists of Los Angeles, Oral History