“I’ve had to learn that success is not going to come to me the way it came to the blue-chip artists,” Emma Amos once revealed in an interview with writer and theorist, bell hooks. While deeply aware of the dearth of critical engagement with her work as a painter, printmaker, and textile artist, Amos remained undeterred—continually deriving new pleasures from the process of creating. She explained, “Hustling that job, that painting—working hard and doing it without a lot of responses. I’m doing exactly what I always wanted to do, and that’s what keeps me going.”1
Amos (1937–2020) was an audacious artist, one with a voracious appetite for destabilizing norms and embracing complexity. In Emma Amos: Color Odyssey, 60 works spanning over four decades evidence the prolific practice she cultivated in spite of institutional neglect and oppressive structures. Organized by Shawnya L. Harris, Brenda A. Thompson Curator of African American and African Diasporic Art at the Georgia Museum of Art, and later presented at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the traveling exhibition marked what was in multiple senses the ultimate homegoing for the Atlanta-born artist.