Abney created this mixed media work for the centennial celebration of artist Romare Bearden at the Studio Museum in Harlem. Bearden was well known for his use of collage and combining scenes of daily African American life with religious themes. As an homage to Bearden, Abney works in collage for the first time and combines both secular and religious imagery in this diptych—a format comprised of two panels traditionally used for religious altarpieces. Though Abney incorporates religious themes in her work, it is often from a more critical perspective. In this image, the scene on the left panel is one of judgment and expulsion, while the scene on the right is one of salvation. The artist’s conception of salvation is not presented as the judgment of a righteous god, but one of tolerance and inclusivity, underscored by the inclusion of symbols from the LGBTQ community, such as the rainbow and pink triangle.


  • Title: First and Last
  • Creator: Nina Chanel Abney
  • Creator Birth Place: Harvey, Illinois
  • Date Created: 2012
  • Location: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Physical Dimensions: 38 × 51 inches (96.5 × 129.5 cm)
  • Type: Mixed Media
  • Publisher: Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
  • Rights: © Nina Chanel Abney
  • External Link: https://nasher.duke.edu/exhibitions/nina-chanel-abney-royal-flush-2/
  • Medium: Acrylic and cut paper collage on paper
  • Art Form: Mixed Media
  • Credit Line: Collection of the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina. Anonymous gift to the museum.

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