US artist Stacy Lynn Waddell’s Goldenhot Butterfly Queen has been acquired for Bristol Museum & Artwork Gallery. It’s the 7th acquisition for a regional UK museum by the Valeria Napoleone XX Up to date Artwork Society award, which helps the acquisition of serious works by a dwelling feminine artist. This monumental composition gold leaf picture references two outstanding girls of color from very totally different moments in historical past: Sarah Baartman (1789-1815), the so-called ‘Hottentot Venus’ and Thelma ‘Butterfly’ McQueen (1911-1995), the Hollywood actor who performed ‘Prissy’ within the movie, Gone with the Wind (1940). 

The museum receives the VN XX CAS award two years after the infamous toppling of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol harbour. The questions raised by that motion foreground not solely who’s memorialised however who commissions statues for future generations. Waddell’s watercolour is partly impressed by the actor, Butterfly McQueen, whose character Prissy was a stereotype of a silly black maid, options butterflies withdrawing. 

‘Simply earlier than issues get too scary and earlier than I awake myself, I start to fly. What amazement! Simply as I acquire altitude …I’m left questioning if my true energy is the power to fly or the power to wake myself.’

Stacy Lynn Waddell, Letter to Butterfly McQueen

Rendered in composition gold leaf, the butterflies flutter across the monumental picture of Sarah Baartman, reclaiming her exploited physique, which is not exhibited as an unique bodily kind to suit a racialist idea. Waddell reverses the racialist voyeurism of the exhibiting of Baartman because the so-called Hottentot Venus, to reclaim Baartman’s physique as an icon of Black magnificence and satisfaction.  

Though a monumental work, the valuable fragility of this drawing on paper, the twin figures alluded to, are distinct from the everlasting memorializing of statues such because the toppled Colston: narratives are challenged, and house is given for alternate options. 

Stacy Lynn Waddell, Artist, stated: “The lived experiences of Saartjie Baartman (1789-1815) and Thelma Butterfly McQueen (1911-1995) have lengthy been of nice curiosity to me. Goldenhot Butterfly Queen (2015) is a metaphor for existence. With this gilded life-sized Venus portrait, I’ve turned morbid fascination and tragedy into revelation and victory. The acquisition of this work is a chance to current a picture that counteracts entrenched narratives and appears ahead throughout a time that’s changing into more and more extra fraught with efforts to extinguish progress.” 

Valeria Napoleone stated: “I’m thrilled that Stacy Lynn Waddell’s excellent work, Goldenhot Butterfly Queen (2015), can be donated to Bristol Museum and Artwork Gallery this yr. On this drawing, the artist makes use of strategies which might be revolutionary and conventional on the similar time. She pays tribute to valuable materials in addition to the symbolism behind it and the reordering of values. This work pays a homage to black tradition posing vital questions in regards to the attributes of energy and worth in trendy society, and throughout human historical past.” 

Julia Carver, Curator, Artwork, Bristol Museum & Artwork Gallery, stated: “Engaged on this acquisition has helped me to focus deeply on what girls’s artwork apply can carry to the controversy about who’s represented, what historical past is represented, and who brings that narrative to the fore. Stacy Lynn Waddell’s monumental drawing of Sarah Baartman poses additional questions, in regards to the ‘Hottentot Venus’. She is memorialised in composition gold leaf and aligned with the activist actor Butterfly McQueen. There may be lots of historical past to think about on this picture.” 

Caroline Douglas, Director, Up to date Artwork Society, stated: “Stacy Lynn Waddell’s portray can be a spectacular addition to the everlasting collections in Bristol, and we hope it is going to be a place to begin for necessary new conversations with the audiences on the museum. The work was chosen for its highly effective evocation of historic figures, in addition to for its celebratory illustration of Black womanhood, and we’re glad to have created new, worldwide connections for our colleagues in Bristol.” 

For extra info please contact: 

Tosin Adegoke, Communications Supervisor, Up to date Artwork Society
[email protected]
+44 (0)20 7017 8412 


Notes to Editors: 


Valeria Napoleone XX Up to date Artwork Society (VN XX CAS) is a joint initiative of philanthropist Valeria Napoleone and the Up to date Artwork Society. The aim of the initiative is to help the acquisition of serious works by feminine artists for Up to date Artwork Society Museum Members.VN XX CAS acts as a focus for debate on gender inequality within the arts. It intends to impress an examination of gathering apply and the broader impact past the acquisition of the awarded work

Previous acquisitions by the VN XX CAS fund embrace works by Martine Syms for Leeds Artwork Gallery (2017); Aliza Nisenbaum for Norwich Citadel Museum and Artwork Gallery (2018) Berni Searle for Manchester Artwork Gallery (2019); Mary Kelly for Brighton Artwork Gallery (2020); and Alexandra Bircken for The Hunterian Museum (2021). 


Stacy Lynn Waddell (b. North Carolina, 1966) lives and works in North Caroline. Current solo exhibition consists of CANDICE MADEY, New York, NY (2021); Visible Arts Heart of Richmond, Richmond, VA (2015); and Weatherspoon Artwork Museum, Greensboro, NC (2011) Current group exhibitions embrace The Artwork of the Ecstatic, KARMA, New York, NY (curated by Hilton Als) (2021); Pennsylvania Academy of the Fantastic Arts, Philadelphia, PA (2021); Elizabeth A. Sackler Heart for Feminist Artwork, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY (2018). Her work is within the collections of The Princeton Artwork Museum, The Studio Museum in Harlem, The Brooklyn Museum, amongst quite a few different museums and personal collections. In fall of 2022, 

Stacy can be a Civitella Ranieri Basis Fellow in Umbria, Italy. In 2017, she was an Artist-in-Residence at Joan Mitchell Heart in New Orleans. She was a 2010 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Basis 


Opened in 1905, Bristol Museum & Artwork Gallery homes town’s world class collections, from dinosaurs and diamonds to magnificent wonderful artwork and Egyptian mummies. Twenty galleries and a altering programme of blockbuster exhibitions inform the story of the world from the start of time to the current day. Such is the significance of the collections {that a} quantity have ‘Designated’ or excellent standing awarded by the Authorities, together with geology, Asian artwork, Bristol historical past and English delftware. 


The Up to date Artwork Society champions the gathering of excellent up to date artwork and craft within the UK. Since 1910 the charity has donated 1000’s of works by dwelling artists to museums, from Picasso, Bacon, Hepworth and Moore of their day, by to the influential artists of our instances. Sitting on the coronary heart of cultural life within the UK, the Up to date Artwork Society brokers philanthropic help for the good thing about museums and their audiences throughout the whole nation. Their work ensures that the story of artwork continues to be instructed now and for future generations.