Maya Angelou Painting – Still I Rise

Maya Angelou Painting

How can you paint a series of STRONG WOMEN and NOT include Maya Angelou? You can’t, you just can’t! She was fierce, strong, smart and her words very powerful. Wouldn’t you have loved to have been friends with her?

My previous ‘strong’ women have been perhaps physically strong, some were imagined, but Maya was real and all heart and soul and a role model to so many. To me, she embodied what it means to be a strong woman, she was smart, persevered, and carried herself with style & grace.

maya angelou painting
Maya Angelou – Still I Rise 24 x 24 on canvas by Deb Breton

She is painted in black,blue and white. With an abstract teal, orange and tan background.

Maya Angelou's eyes of wisdom
Close up detail of Maya Angelou’s eyes of wisdom

Powerful Words

She gave voice to so many, hard to believe that at one time she did not speak… Though one of my favorite poems from her is The Caged Bird, the verse from Still I Rise was calling to me. So apropos these days. This is painted in a much looser and organic style than some of my previous ‘Famous Portraits’, but the message is still the same: you have everything you need inside of you… Use it!

Still I Rise

You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise

If you like this Maya Angelou painting, you can add it to your art collection; get it here!

Peace and love,

deb sigline

This Post Has 8 Comments

  1. clinock

    I do so love this, painting and poem, and connect even more strongly because of my latest post, “We Rise”…nice sync!

    1. Deb B

      Hi John! I believe there are many more of us on the ‘same page’ these days, don’t you? Seems the status quo – is no more. We are questioning the old ways, old beliefs and bringing more heart, compassion and meaning to our lives. Part of that is recognizing the broken systems, or in our case as artists, to expose them. Your piece is powerful, you say in words what I cannot, thank you.

  2. Heateor

    Maya Angelou, a very strong woman, indeed

  3. Chandra Lynn

    Love her! Love the words! Love this piece and I appreciate the process!

    1. Deb B

      She was amazing Chandra, wasn’t she? So empowering!!!❤

  4. Anonymous

    I like the richness of this painting: the colours and the text all work together

    1. Deb B

      I appreciate your comment, and so glad that she resonates with you. I’ve always found her words inspiring and empowering. They seem to be even more relevant these days! Thanks for stopping by ~ cheers!

    2. Deb B

      P.S. Like most paintings, the colors look richer in person, plus the varnish deepens the color a bit.

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