At the end of January, a retrospective by photographer Carrie Mae Weems titled "Carrie Mae Weems: Three Decades of Photography and Video" opened at the Guggenheim in New York City (on view until May 14, 2014). The exhibition is a comprehensive look at the artist's career and a life spent creating work that explores race, gender, and social issues through examining the concepts of history and identity.

Weems is an important figure among many African-American female artists who helped pave the way for creators depicting issues of discrimination from the 20th century until now. These women broke through the barriers of the male-dominated art world, celebrating womanhood, identity, and a crucial shift in historical and modern racial and gender issues. They helped catalyze movements such as the Harlem Renaissance and fought for equal representation of women in large-scale art shows. 

For the last week of Black History Month, and to coincide with Weems' intimate and powerful exhibition, we compiled these 20 Important African-American Female Artists of the 20th Century.