Wanda Ewing

1970, Omaha, Nebraska – 2013, Omaha, Nebraska

Wanda Ewing was born in 1970 in Omaha, Nebraska. She used printmaking, painting, collage, latch hook, and other media to create pieces that she wrote “explore the subjects of race, beauty standards, sexuality, and identity.” Her bold and colorful artistic style was heavily influenced by pop and hip-hop culture, fashion trends, and commerce, and has been described as “unapologetic, political, provocative, and impossible to ignore.” In her art, she imbued a sense of directness and satirical humor. One of her more widely known series that embodies these notions is titled Bougie which is a collection of fictitious magazine covers featuring stylized portraits of African American women. Her work has been seen in many exhibitions including Nebraska venues in Omaha, Lincoln, and Kearney, and in Kansas City, Missouri; Iowa City, Iowa; Delaware, Ohio; Norman, Oklahoma; Los Angeles, California as well as internationally in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Bristol, England; New Delhi, India; and Paris, France. Her awards include Artist of the Year from the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. (2006), Best Visual Artist and Best 2-D Artist from Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards (2009), Individual Artist Grant from The Pollock Krasner Foundation (2011), and Individual Artist Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council (2013).

An alumna of Omaha’s Benson High School, she received her B.F.A. degree with an emphasis in Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute in California in 1997. She earned her M.A. (2001) and M.F.A. (2002), both in Printmaking, from the University of Iowa in Iowa City. Ewing joined the faculty at the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Department of Art and Art History in 2004. She was the first African American to be hired full-time and gain tenure at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where she was an Associate Professor of Art and Art History. She was an active advocate for art, for artists of color, and for women of color. Only 43, she died in 2013 in Omaha, Nebraska of complications from cancer treatment.

Wanda Ewing was included in the exhibition A Greater Spectrum: African American Artists of Nebraska 1912-2010 on view at the Museum of Nebraska Art from December 4, 2010 to April 3, 2011.

Wanda Ewing is not represented in the Museum of Nebraska Art collection.