19. Survivor



image preview


Elizabeth Catlett (1915-2012), American, naturalized Mexican

Survivor, 1983


Gift of Mrs. Maurie Clifford

Collection of La Salle University Art Museum, 84-G-1305(A)

Art is a powerful tool to understand the lived experience in public health. This print is used in the graduate course PHLT 540: Introduction to Public Health. It allows students to consider the lived experiences of various population groups throughout history. Students reflect on the types of disparate health outcomes this woman may face and the role of the social experience in health risk. Students are also asked to consider the cultural and political context the print represents and to describe possible implications for policies. Survivor points to both the struggles and resiliency of the woman represented. Students use this print to discuss both the risks and assets of diverse communities of color.

-Candace Robertson-James, DrPH, MPH

Director and Assistant Professor, Master of Public Health Program

“This print makes me think about the strength and endurance of the African-American woman during slave times. Her face is stern and serious which shows struggle and determination.”

- Ebony Gibbs, MPH Student

“The image is based on a photograph by Dorothea Lange, who traveled around the country for the U.S. Farm Security Administration documenting the effects of the Great Depression. This image shows two different public health issues. The first that comes to mind is health disparities based on race. As an ex-slave, the subject’s conditions are first determined by her race. The second disparity that comes to mind is her poverty. Because this is during the Great Depression, a time when many individuals suffered because of the failed economy, many individuals dealt with poverty. The combination of the two disparities creates a further issue, specifically seen historically with FDR’s policies that helped white Americans financially and excluded helping others.”

- Sharnita Midgett MPH Student

Broader Identity

  • 1. Understanding Diverse Perspectives

Expanded Literacies

  • 7. Health and Financial Literacy

Active Responsibility

  • 11. Cultural and Global Awareness and Sensitivity

See this object in the Art Museum Online Collections Database:



Collection of La Salle University Art Museum; Copyright: Art © Catlett Mora Family Trust/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY http://artcollection.lasalle.edu/kiosk/rights.htm