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Omaha artist Rowena Cage uses vibrant colors to recreate the image of Black women during Antebellum

Posted at 5:54 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-26 18:54:10-05
  • Video shows art work in the Hot Shops Art Center in Downtown Omaha.
  • Rowena Cage, an artist in Omaha, walks us through the creation of digital art with the inspiration of Vincent van Gogh to help create vibrant art work and back stories of women during Antebellum. 


An artist in Omaha is working to undo the way Black women were portrayed during the Antebellum period through a modern lens.

"Just wanting to bring that to light with these stories and with these pieces...and to just move people to see black folks," said Rowena Cage, an artist of 15 years.

Through 12 displays at the Hot Shops Art Center, Cage is sharing a different story for each Black woman during the 19th century supported with 2 years of research.

"I read through history and just being inspired by stories of different folks who existed in that time and just kind of.. the energy came to me," said Cage.

During the research, Cage found Black women were depicted as subjects in roles of servitude, often sexualized, and sometimes monstrous.

"I really wanted to portray specifically Black women, in light and tell their stories…and just bring and capture them as human beings. We were considered as monsters at that time," Said Cage.

The women Cage creates are fictional but Cage tries to imagine them as if they were real.

"I put myself and created and felt their lives and their stories…and I wanted to share that though my art," said Cage.

Cage usually paints on Canvas but for this display decided to create digitally. She used an Ipad and other software to draw images, which are based in the style of Vincent van Gogh.

"Each piece is actually thousands of pieces of vectors that have played with the opacity size and shapes to create what I refer to the van Gogh effect digitally," said Cage.

Cage’s art work revisits history but also derives from personal experiences, after being born and raised in the Caribbeans and coming to the United States.