Discussion Questions: Consuelo Kanaga’s Annie Mae Meriwether

Consuelo Kanaga, Annie Mae Meriwether, 1935; collection SFMOMA, gift of Carla Emil and Rich Silverstein; © Estate of Consuelo Kanaga

  1. What strikes you most about this photograph? What do you see that
    makes you say that?
  2. How much distance is there between the subject and the
    camera/viewer? What is the effect of this?
  3. What emotions seem to be expressed in this work? What do you see
    that makes you say that?
  4. The artist created this portrait of Annie Mae Meriwether for New Masses magazine, an Marxist periodical published in the United States from 1926 to 1948. The picture was commissioned to accompany an account of Meriwether’s escape from the lynch mob that had murdered her husband as retribution for his involvement with an Alabama sharecroppers’ union. How does this new knowledge change the way you understand the work?
  5. How do you think the effect of this picture would change if it was in color?

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