Back in 1957, a fourteen year old girl was seen deeply contemplating the work of a 20th century master, Pablo Picasso, in a museum named after him in Paris, France. It was there, for the first time in her life she learned the magnitude of the revolutionary artist’s work – realism tinged with symbolism, cubism, classicism, surrealism and so on. The visual extravaganza impressed her mind immensely and stayed there. The artist in Marcella Hayes Muhammad was stirred to its very core.
With her father being an air – force officer Marcella found herself stationed in many places including Japan, France, Germany and various parts of United States. The experience gathered and all that she has seen through this extensive excursion became a part of her own self. The encouragements of her mother Ruth Hayes, herself an art enthusiast and student of Art Institute of Chicago, and the inspiring stories of her father Harold Hayes that filled her ears as a child made her acutely aware of her own identity from an early age. She was inspired by cubism but had it redefined by dipping the brush in her own cultural heritage and her soulful energy which is self – evident in Plastic Space, a visual journal she is maintaining since 1964. In 1995 after seeing through a successful career in elementary education Marcella set up Maruva Studio in Georgia. Five years later her sister, Dianne Hayes Quarles, joined her and together they established Maruva DQ, Inc.
Marcella’s work is in the permanent collection of National Center for the Study of Civil Rights and African American Culture Gallery, University of Montgomery, Alabama; The Academy of Arts, Inc. Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Alabama; APEX Museum, Atlanta, Georgia to name a few. But perhaps her greatest achievement to this date has come early in her life when she learnt, ‘inspiration exists, but it has to find you working’. It is owing to this lesson that we find her today, relentlessly busy perfecting her craft even after all the successes she managed to achieve to this date.