Margo Humphrey embraced color lithography as her art form of choice in the early 1960s and won her first prize in 1965. During her distinguished career as an artist and educator, which spanned five decades, she made lithographs at Robert Blackburn’s Printmaking Workshop. She also wrote and illustrated The River That Gave Gifts a vibrant and spiritual children's book in 1987. The History of Her Life Written Across Her Face graces the cover of a monograph on Humphrey published in 2009 as part of the highly distinguished David C. Driskell Series of African American Art.
Humphrey’s own words about her work: “The work is mainly about specifics, issues, experiences and circumstances that have affected or made a lasting impression on me. The work is colorful and it is the intensity of this color that represented the pageantry and excitement of the places I have lived such as Samoa, Africa, the Fiji Island, Jamaica and my home town. The imagery and symbolism is my own. However, my influences range from Sister Gertrude Morgan, a folk artist, to the verbal narrative of Richard Pryor to Jazz and its emotional psychic energy to what we experience emotions from Romance in “the Night Kiss”, to fear and survival in “The Flying House”, to what it is like to be alive in “The Marble Box.”
The History of Her Life Written Across Her Face is a large and at first seemingly confrontational image. Our attention demanded, further looking repays handsomely as the story unfolds among the images and text covering the subject’s face like a face paint montage or elaborate tattoo. It is arguably her greatest achievement as an artist.