Della Wells

Mambo Queen #3, 1994
Pastel on paper
18.88 x 12.63 in
SKU: 8417c
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"Mambo Queen #3" is an original pastel on paper from 1994 by Della Wells. It is signed by the artist in the lower left. Fascinated with myths and fairy tales, Wells has created her own magical land called "Mambo Land." Wells is interested in African religion in which the priestesses were called "Mambo." In Wells' Mambo Land women are high priestesses of themselves. It is a place where black women rule and take care of their truths. In this picture, a woman, a Mambo queen grimaces as she clutches a purple bird. While the meaning is unclear, the Mambo Queen appears to be taking care of her truth.

Artwork Size: 18 7/8"x12 5/8"
Frame Size: 26 3/4"x20 1/2" 

Born in 1951, Della Wells grew up in Milwaukee. As a child and young person, she did not want to become an artist but a storyteller; to this day she considers herself to be a “visual storyteller.” She sold her first work of art at age 13, but she did not begin working as an artist until she was 42. She has said, “I didn’t do anything for a long time, because I didn’t think I had anything to say. You can draw, you may know how to do things technically, but I think to be a true artist you have to have something to say. You have to have a vision.” Her creative process stems from her personal experiences and her works are often inspired by her troubled childhood. Known for her collages, drawings, dolls, paintings, and pastels, Wells has created a magical land called “Mambo” populated and ruled primarily by black women. Wells is a self-taught artist and her work has been successful in “outsider art” venues, including the Outsider Art exhibition in New York. Wells’ art is exhibited in more than 100 private and public collections. Her work has been purchased by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her collages are sold at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.