Dziva, Goddess With Skin the Color of Dirt

Completed: December 12, 2021

Oil on canvas.

24 X 18 inches


“When I first heard someone say they had been told their skin was the color of dirt, I was appalled. Later, reflecting on that idea, I remembered the rich black dirt in my grandfather’s garden and recognized that dirt is amazing, generally, the darker, the better. The insult can be turned if one thinks about the importance of dirt.
(I am aware that it is my white privilege to refuse to accept that particular insult as an insult. My skin is the color of sand. How is that better?)”



St. Petersburg, FL

Rebecca Skelton earned her B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama.  Ms. Skelton has taught art classes as an adjunct professor for University of Tampa, St. Petersburg College, USF St. Petersburg, HCC Ybor, and Eckerd College as well as for the Morean Arts Center, Creative Clay, Youth Arts Corps, and the Dali Museum. Her work is in the Morean Arts Center, Florida CraftArt Gallery, Davidson’s Fine Art, and Articles.

Artist Statement

An image came to me of a Black woman whose braids turned into crop rows and orchards rooted in her skin as dirt, a Mother Earth. I was prepared to call her some variation of Demeter, but stumbled across the name Dziva, the Shona goddess of agriculture/fertility and realized she was who my painting depicted.

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Image Info