Contemporary Art Week!
Series: Self-Evident Truths
These paintings represent a modern study in dichotomy and perception from a historical context using portraiture as the interpretive engine.
I often use the image of the black woman in unaccustomed/atypical context; derived to create a visual tension between historical fact, misinformation and myth. The viewer is lured into the possible narrative of the depicted figure by her beauty, strength and grace; however immediately enters an intellectual menagerie where they are confounded by the disconnected visual clues. Is she slave or slaveholder? Is she captive or free, is she servant or served? Is she factual or fictional in a historical context? All of these questions and more provide basis for the individual viewers journey of allegorical interpretation.
The images are imbued with cultural and ethnic symbolism that provides insight into the historical context of the painting. Yet, the icons, combined with my personal visual vocabulary, may remain unseen or misread by the “unknowing” eye; the eye that never learned the historic bases for all the possibilities in the lives of these women. In a society that often make instant cultural judgements based on visual cues that are often stereotypical, but not always, I feel offering ethnic imagery that defies common visual library of the modern citizen may challenge each individuals biases and foregone conclusions of their own notions of what race represents in history and therefore in humanity.
The images beg the question: Is “Truth” self-evident? Who’s “Truth”? How does knowledge, experience and perception of one’s “self” determine what is evident? If the view of oneself is skewed is it possible to see another clearly?
In San Francisco last year, a man stabbed a woman in the face and arm after she didn’t respond positively to his sexually harassing her on the street.
In Bradenton, Fla., a man shot a high school senior to death after she and her friends refused to perform oral sex at his request.
In Chicago, a scared 15-year-old was hit by a car and died after she tried escaping from harassers on a bus.
Again, in Chicago, a man grabbed a 19-year-old walking on a public thoroughfare, pulled her onto a gangway and assaulted her.
In Savannah, Georgia, a woman was walking alone at night and three men approached her. She ignored them, but they pushed her to the ground and sexually assaulted her.
In Manhattan, a 29-year-old pregnant woman was killed when men catcalling from a van drove onto the sidewalk and hit her and her friend.
Last week, a runner in California — a woman — was stopped and asked, by a strange man in a car, if she wanted a ride. When she declined he ran her over twice.
FUCK YOU if you think that street harassment is a “compliment” or “no big deal” or that it’s “irrational” of us to be afraid because “what’s actually gonna happen.” Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you some more.
Street Harassment: Is a Man Running Over a 14-Year Old Girl for Refusing Sex Serious Enough? | Soraya Chemaly (via mooncrumbs)