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Ani DiFranco (b. 1970), Autobiography, 2011; acrylic on canvas, 39 ½ x 40 x 1 7/16 inches; Anonymous gift

Ani DiFranco (b. 1970), Autobiography, 2011; acrylic on canvas, 39 ½ x 40 x 1 7/16 inches; Anonymous gift

Buffalo native Ani DiFranco is a polymath artist—renown singer, songwriter, record producer, poet, artist, and social activist. She is a feminist icon, named one of the top 25 most influential artists in the past 25 years and one of the top 21 feminists of the 21st century by Ms. Magazine. She studied visual arts and poetry at Buffalo State College and the New School for Social Research in New York. She shares a practice with other artists well-recognized in one media, who also create paintings as a means to develop rule-breaking and narrative creation which appear in their other creative output. Thus, like Bob Dylan, with whom she has appeared in Western New York, she makes standalone poems and paintings. DiFranco’s book of poetry, paintings, and drawings was published by Seven Stories Press in New York in 2007. She selected “My I.Q., a poem and lyrics from Puddle Dive, her fourth studio album, to accompany Autobiography. The painting locates a young woman, like Lord Byron’s Childe Harold, hidden in a field of abstraction which may contain or prevent her from overcoming the obstacles before her—a theme present throughout the decades of her poems and songs. —AB