I NEED MORE HOT GRITS!

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Is an Audience necessary??

A few days ago, I was In the studio struggling with a new painting…. We all know how that goes, right? You’re off to a great start, the idea is solid but your execution… Eh not so much. As my mentor says, “C, you need more hot grits!” In other words, the punch line is missing. The one element needed to finish the piece and bring it all home is missing. Damn that aggravating. I’ve been yelling at people on the bus, flaking out on assignments, and  all over a painting!! God Almighty! Oddly enough, this beautiful struggle is what  I Iive for. To be even more of a cliche, I live, breathe and eat this $&*+, so when I hit a bump in the road I keep a pushing along.

Being in school, surrounded by other creative people, the urge to ” critique” work is always in the air. A friend once told me ( and I believe this to be true), that everyone wants to be that person to help you break through this rough patch. People walk into your studio, they pop off questions , tell you how much they like  it, give you the name of every damn white male artist as some jumping off point and leave probably feeling good about themselves when in actuality…. You are left unfazed and sometimes slightly annoyed. A good rule of thumb, people : sometimes you need to ask before you enter someone’s studio. It is similar to going to someone’s house . You don’t just walk in and proceed to look into their panty drawer! You ask first, ” C, could I go through your underwear drawer??? I admire your love for Victoria’s Secret! ” You get my drift. 

But I digress. One of those eager art lovers )that is actively producing work that looks a lot like the work of a deceased white males), came to me the other day and said ”  I think you should think about who your audience is, like … Who is your audience??”

And I immediately shot back, “Why do you need to create work for an audience?” In my mind,I also wanted to know why that was recommended to me specifically. Now, before you assume that I am overreacting, I had the same “critique” sometime last year. Who is your audience? Are you saying because I am creating work about otherness that I have to create work for black, brown red, yellow people? Because I am a Black woman, I need to create work that speaks specifically to Black women?? So would you say Barbara Kruger made work for white women? Or Jeff Koons creates work for white men? What about Rashid Johnson or Carrie Mae Weems? Mark Bradford?Ai Wei Wei?  So it lead me to thinking: Can you create work without an audience? Can you create work with a specific audience in mind? Or can you just create work aligned with your concept and screw the “audience” bit? Is it possible that you limit yourself by creating work for someone else? Is it not plausible that an audience has jack $&#* to do with the creation of work and your execution is your bread and butter, not necessarily who you think will “like” it? Truthfully, after conversation with artists C.Coleman and  art educator C. Esekawu, I now understand why that is a question of sorts… but it’s tricky. The information presented in your artwork, can go over some folks heads. However, I’m not sure you should censor your work for the sake of an “audience”.  Or you can create work for a specific audience and take (and accept) the risk of the work never going beyond a specific point.

For me…. I just need more hot grits. 

 

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Words and Labels

Antonin Dvorak, the infamous Czechoslovakian Symphony No.9 composer, was influenced by various American folk melodies, including Negro Spirituals and Indian Music. While sitting at Bates Hall, waiting for The University of Texas Symphony Orchestra concert to begin, I read the opening statement in the program. I thought it was interesting how words, simple words, and their connotations distinguish difference. So I began to write phrases that I’ve seen in magazines, stores, libraries, websites etc that perpetuate otherness:

 

Black

Black Hair Care

Ethnic Hair Care

Ethnic Foods

Negro Spirituals

Tribal Patterns

Black Music

Black Style

African American Vernacular English

Black English

Ebonics

Ebony

Ebony Porn

Big Black Cock

Big Black

Dick

Big Black Women

Nigger Bitch

Afro-Erotica

African American Fiction

Urban Fiction

Urban

Ghetto

Ghetto Fabulous

Black English

Primitive

Bitch

Nigga

Black

African American

Gallery Girls: I’m judging a book by its cover

After a nice workout and few mosquito bites, my grandmother ( known as Gomma) and I sat down in front of the television and began to flip rapidly through the channels hoping to find something of interest. No, we don’t want to watch Law and Order. No we don’t want to watch Law and Order SVU, New York or CSI. No we do not want to watch Love and Hip Hop Atlanta nor do we want to watch Criminal Minds. Is this all we have to choose from?! No Top Chef, Anthony Bourdain or a Morgan Freeman narrated documentary on sea life???

None of that, but Gallery Girls was on! Within the first ten minutes I had the show pegged and I knew exactly my issues:

1) The show seems to be more about the social aspects of “Gallery girls” versus the art, the hardships of installation, temperamental artists or the current issues facing the art world.

2) Who the hell is Eli Klein Gallery?

3) I am willing to bet that quite a few of these girls are being supported by family money as they go from auction to auction looking at the buyers versus the art

4) Sooner or later the Brooklyn girls versus the Manhattan Girls will end up throwing drinks at each other like the all the women of the Real Housewives series.

Yep…. Totally judging a book by its cover. And like Charles Barkley once said while sitting on Oprah’s couch ” I could be wrong, but I doubt it”

The crazy artist comes home

At least once, every adult will have to make the trek home and stay for a while. And by home, I mean the place that you “grew up”. After my travels in Italy, I returned to Dallas penniless and car-less. Hiding out until the semester begins, I thought that it wouldn’t be that bad. I can see my family! See my friends! I can lounge around and scratch on the couch while watching Keeping up With the Kardashians. It can’t be, because “I grew up here”.

I moved away from Dallas two years ago to finish my degree in Austin, TX. Working constantly, studying, and my studio practice have all kept me from coming home for no more than 4 times a year at 2-4 days in length. And I’ve realized in the last month that I don’t live here anymore. I seriously don’t live here in anymore and I can’t come back here after I’m done with Austin. There is this false notion, this lie, that made me believe I actually would be able to come back and hide out in my childhood home, just like I did during those long hot ass summers of middle school and high school, but no. I’d go to museums, Addison bars, nightclubs, dance it up and sweat it out however; I’m not that girl anymore. One, I don’t have the appropriate funds at the moment and secondly, I’m not the Dallas girl I once was. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy all those things, but very few of them I enjoy doing in Dallas. I figured out some things while being here:

1)      Although I have my issues with the Austin art scene, I miss it. I truly miss the experimentation, the house galleries, the wacky bookstores and “weird” folk. The openings every weekend, the lectures and genuine interest in ART.

2)      I don’t know my way around Dallas anymore and I may not know my way around Austin either.

3)      I miss Nasty’s (a dive bar near Amy’s ice cream on Guadalupe) and their hip hop night is AWESOME. FYI: The most black people I’ve seen in one place in the last 2 years I’ve been in Austin.

4)      I miss Dos XX at a decent price, served to me in the bottle with a lime.

5)      I miss lounging around my house in my birthday suit, drinking a nice cocktail, eating Ben &Jerry’s Ice Cream and watching Sex and the City.

6)      I miss riding the bus for Free (currently $5.00 day pass in Dallas).

7)      Most importantly: I’ve realized that my family and friends know jack shit about what I do. Is it like this for all artists, or just me? I’ll admit, I’ve always been the weird one, the black sheep, the “different” person in the family but DAYUUM, I really didn’t know that they had absolutely NO idea about what it is that I do artistically. They know I love art, but other than that, they know nothing about my concept or why I do the work that I do. Hell, I don’t even know if they’re interested. Matter of fact, one family member (and he means well with all his heart and soul, he seriously does) asked me why don’t I draw smiling black children and sell these images at Black Fine Art Shows? While Black Fine Art Shows, were once the only vehicles where Blacks were able to exhibit work artistically, it is not the vehicle that would be appropriate for my work. He doesn’t understand this and quite frankly, he’s so stubborn with his opinions, I highly doubt I could get him to understand where I’m coming from. Success and proving him wrong would be the only way he would then understand. I love him regardless though.

8)      My family’s misunderstanding or ignorance about what I do artistically is my new muse. I am educating them on black conceptual artists, writers such as Bell Hooks and black feminist theory. By doing this they now know what I research, what I read and where my work stems from. The greatest thing about my family is that they are the very reason I’m interested in these things in the first place! We grew up with books by W.E.B DuBois, Malcom X, John Howard Griffin, Maya Angelou and Cornel West in the house on our bookshelves next to Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein. See, art and black studies tight there!! My family is now my audience. I want to make work that they will understand, ask questions, and critique. If this happens then I have succeeded in hopefully making art that is not too literal and familiar.

 

I was hoping to get to 10 things I’ve realized since I’ve been home, however I could only come up with 8…. I did pretty good. All in all, I’ll miss being home and seeing my family on a daily basis but at the same time, I won’t . It will be a bittersweet moment, but a necessary moment because we can’t go back in time and live in a frame of thought that no longer exists. The whole point to this life is growth and how can you do that by sitting at home watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians ??

American Dreamers in Florence Part II: The Art of Hot Glue…no me gusta

 

Another emphasis very present throughout the American Dreamers exhibition at the Palazzo Strozzi is the emphasis on craft.  With the exception of 2 or 3 artists, there is a major emphasis on the artist’s hand being directly involved in creating their pieces. Jeff Koons, Julie Mehertu, Kehinde Wiley (Yeah I said it!!) and all the other artists for the past umpteen hundred years who have had massive workshops are not included in this exhibition. With the American Dream and its futility still a basis for American Dreamers, imagination runs rampant with the crafty ones and in some cases, does not necessarily align with the overall concept of the show. For instance, Mandy Greer creates site specific special installations from discarded fabrics and clothing accessories such as buttons, ribbons, beads, feathers and various other materials. Greer created a series of chandelier shaped sculptures that hang from the ceiling and are randomly connected with strands of fabrics, beads, etc. Displayed in a narrow gallery, the viewer can enter through either end. At one end of the gallery there are sculptures that are a direct reference to the moon and stars, made of buttons, felt, ribbon and hot glue. If the viewer continues along this path, they zig zag through the series of hanging sculptures that range in various colors of green, brown and blue. At the end of the gallery is a large sparkling gold sculpture that Greer obviously took much more time creating than the previous sculptures. It is precise in every button, rhinestone, and ribbon. It literally sparkles. A friend traveling with me stated, “ It seems that what Greer was trying to accomplish in the other sculptures she accomplished in this one… so why are the others necessary?” Seriously, the big sparkling gold object was that good that it made you question the others. And then I see it! The Didactic Placard that every person in desperate need of an explanation runs to like a fire extinguisher in a burning building! Lo and behold the placard reads that the installation is “path between two realms that she defines as two “heavens” through a transitory dimension, which is represented by the natural world. The title of the new work refers to the name of a nymph who, according to one version of the myth, nursed Zeus who then transformed her into the brightest star in the sky.” What?! Are you serious?! And how does this Greek mythology tie into the American Dream and its non existence?

Greer. Cunosura. Palazzo Strozzi 2012 Courtesy of Strozzina.org

All in all I had a few issues with Greer’s work:

1)      The influence of Petah Coyne and Terrance Koh is incredibly evident. It is so evident that I walked out of the gallery thinking about them versus Greer.

2)      I question the use of hot glue and household items that have no connection to “mythological worlds of Shamanism and Native American Traditions”. This creates a disconnect in the concept of her work as well as the concept of the exhibition…in my opinion

Greer wasn’t the only crafty one! Kirsten Hassenfeld created stars out of wrapping and stationary paper and Christy Rupp created skeletal models of species that were consumed to extinction by mankind. Using steel and chicken bones, Rupp‘s models are very reminiscent of a Natural History Museum in terms of lighting, display and installation.  What changes the sculpture from being “models” is the use of chicken bones. The consumption of animals to extinction is in direct relation to American’s consumption of chicken. One is simply replacing the other, only to be seen again in Natural History Museums with our children. Rupp also created a series of collage pieces that function in the same way as her sculptures. She layered various pieces of paper that referenced different aspects of birds.  For instance there was a very decorative page that emphasized the beauty in the wings and the gracefulness of birds in flight. Layered ontop was a map of a chicken coop or the skeletal system of a chicken. Very interesting but how does this tie into the American Dream and Imagination?  OR is this simply propaganda?

 

Christy Rupp, Extinct Birds Previously Consumed by Humans, 2005-2008
Courtesy of Strozzina.org

The craftsy artists of American Dreamers seemed to be the most problematic for me. At the end of the day work was not made well, it was incredibly literal, and did not fit into the concept of the show.  With that being said, in my next blog I will highlight the artists that created work tight in concept and in line with the overall idea of the show.

American Dreamers at Palazzo Strozzi

American Dreamers in Florence: Part I

Does the American dream still exist? Last year my entire body of work revolved around the question of the American Dream’s existence and futility as it applies to Black Americans. As I continue to research and develop the vocabulary for this concept, Bartholomew F. Bland has curated an exhibition titled, American Dreamers: Reality and Imagination in Contemporary American Art currently showing at Palazzo Strozzi in Florence (Firenze), Italy. Damn, he beat me to the punch! Bland opens the exhibition with the following questions: Does the American dream still exist? What future does it have in an age in which the promise of happiness and economic prosperity seems to have fallen foul of an increasingly complex and harsh reality? As the basis for Bland’s exhibition, he has chosen eleven contemporary artists from all walks of life who utilize their imagination and dreams as alternatives to the cookie cutter idea that encompasses the American Dream.

Adam Cvijanovic, Exurbia (section) 2001-2002. Courtesy of Palazzo Stozzina

American Dreamers is a well-organized exhibition with little quirks and questions that only an artist would dare to ask. For instance, Adams Cvijanovic’s installation tilted Exurbia(New City) is a large acrylic panorama painting that portrays the development of a suburban housing community. Exurbia is installed in a somewhat circular gallery that requires the viewer to enter and exit in a specific route. The perspective of Exurbia, as well as the shadows and depth of space, are all aligned with the entrance of the space to enable the viewer to feel that they have suddenly happened upon a developing community. With weeds and high grass in the foreground, residential development in the middle ground as well as hills along the background, Cvijanovic is successful in creating the illusion that the viewer has actually entered Exurbia. Walking in a clockwise fashion, the viewer is walking among the continuing connotations and ideal associated with the American Dream and are literally a part of Exurbia. Now… Cvijanovic’s execution of the painting is somewhat…. Questionable: 1) The surface on which it is painted ( “a synthetic material” )works in favor for the acrylic paint however it does not work in favor of the installation. Air bubbles from attempts to make the painting adhere to the wall, peeling corners and unaligned panels are very evident and just plain ol’ distracting. 2) Furthermore it seems that Cvijanovic was so concerned about the precision of the perspective that he forgot to paint! Now, I say that not in the sense that there are literally untouched surfaces but more so in terms of a painterly feel. Exurbia is tight like an Amber Rose dress. The painting is so accurate that there is no sense of intuition … it’s as if Exurbia is painted by number. Does this align with the idea of perfection and the American Dreams cookie cutter ideals?? Possibly.

will Cotton. Consuming Folly, 2009-2010, oil on linen, 72 x 96 inches. Courtesy of the artist and Mary Boone Galler

Once the viewer exits Cvijanovic’s installation, he or she is beckoned by the unfortunate stupidity and lack of talent that is known as Katy Perry’s 2012 song, California Girls. Damn, was that mean? Directed by artist Will cotton, the overly sexual candy land, board game video, plays on a loop in the next room. Unable to escape, the viewer is drawn into the small gallery that houses 4 paintings of Cotton’s fairy tale land of candy with nude figures (one being Katy Perry) that seem to float along like angels. The rendering of Cotton’s paintings are beautiful. His ability to paint cake icing, cotton candy and candy canes with the likeness and texture of the actual object is superb. In two of the paintings it is obvious where he spent the most time developing the figures skin tones or facial expressions. In rendering photo realistic cinnamon buns, candy canes, and breasts there are underdeveloped areas that are possibly only obvious to an art critic or artist. Lack of shadows to develop volumetric, fleshy qualities, hasty brushtrokes and dirty, dirty edges of the canvas are a tad distracting…but maybe I’m nit-picking…  The only aspect of the show that I question greatly, is the inclusion of the Katy Perry video. Why oh Why was it necessary? “Icing” spurting from phallic attachments to candy covered breasts, awful singing and the Snoop Dogg’s awful rap (oh how he has become a sell out….)was all just so unnecessary!   And only one question comes to mind: Why?!? And I ask that because the video, the song and Cotton’s involvement as artistic director, do not compliment his paintings in this setting!  California Girls is not an extension of his paintings because it is simply what it is: A pop video.

That is all for now. I know that the Writing Art guide dished out at Universities says to focus on one or two aspects of a group exhibition, but that would be no fun. So over the next few days, I plan to upload a few thoughts on a few more artists that I found most interesting in American Dreamers.

Plegaria Muda: Doris Salcedo Installation at the MAXXI

A few days ago I was in desperate need of a Contemporary Art “fix”. Italians literally live and walk among ruins older than the founding of North America and you cannot seem to see it all, no matter how long you stay. After a long long long day at the Vatican, several traveling buddies split a 40,00 Euro cab ride, and enjoyed the 30 minutes of air condition as we rode to North Rome. To our surprise (after several discouraging opinions about the MAXXI) we embarked upon a Doris Salcedo Installation that satisfied our “fix”.

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Doris Salcedo’s work testifies on behalf of the lives silenced by unnecessary deaths in areas populated by marginalized people. Elements such as past, present, conflict and triumph are evident in the lives affected by unnecessary violence and thusly are the driving forces behind Salcedo’s work. In 2004- 2009, Salcedo traveled throughout ghettos of South East Los Angeles in response to an official report which stated that over 10,000 young people had died violent deaths over a twenty-one year period. During this same time in South America, the Colombian army lured young men from poor and marginalized neighborhoods with false promises of job opportunities into wooded areas, dressed them in rebel uniforms and slaughtered them in “combat”.  The death of these young men allowed the Colombian army to fabricate results in order to claim financial rewards offered by the government for killed guerrillas.

“Plegaria Muda” by Colombian artist Doris Salcedo at the Maxxi museum on March 14, 2012. (Courtesy Getty Images)

Disturbed and inspired by the commonalities in Los Angeles and Colombian deaths, Salcedo created Plegaria Muda, an installation consisting of over 120 pairs of tables, one stacked upside down on top of the other and merged with moist soil. The massive amount of rustic tables fill the gallery and have an eternal presence very much like a graveyard. In an eerily quiet, crescent shaped gallery, the viewer winds through the seemingly endless arrangements of stacked tables toward the opposite end of the gallery as if moving among headstones.

Although the driving force behind Plegaria Muda stems from unnecessary deaths, Salcedo’s installation is very much about the continuance of life and the elements that embody the lives affected by violence.  The tables vary in textures and shades of gray, yet remain consistent in size, thusly appearing weathered and heavily used. Those that connect to the ground, with the soil resting on top, represent the past, the dead or the missing. They also function as representations of conflict that have been laid to rest underneath the moist soil of the earth. The tables on top are in an unnatural state, upside down, with their legs facing the sky. They function as the present lives of the parents and loved ones that buried children as a result to Los Angeles and Colombian gang violence, crime or corruption. In an unnatural state, they are forever connected to the dead through the continuance of life. The soil that binds the living to the dead embodies a root system that enables green grass to grow through the wood of the table resting on top. The ability for life to continue after so much heart ache is triumphant. Salcedo’s installation not only acts as a testimony on behalf of marginalized people killed in society’s wars but also testifies to the lives that have continued to thrive within these societies regardless of Plegaria Muda, Muted Prayers.

‘Plegaria Muda’ by Doris Salcedo, 2012
all images courtesy MAXXI
images by p. tocci

A to Z in Italy

A: Afro-Americana in Italy … I like that term

B: “Helloooo, Brown Sugar! I have good deal for you!”

C: Can I touch your hair, ciccolatta?

D: David. I love a man with a sling shot and determination.

E: Euro (pronounced eh- oo-ROH) is the same as 1.3 American Dollars

F: Fettuccine Alfredo doesn’t exist but fettuccine con funghi exists everywhere and it is so much better!

G:Gold Ornamentation and Gelato flavors as far as the eye can see… paradise?

H: Imagine a pope running for his life to Hadrian’s Mausoleum as the crowd shouts “Down with him!!!!”

    (In Italian of course).

I: insalata mista (mixed green salad with grape tomatoes, carrots, corn and a squeeze of lemon)

J: “Jamm Ja” Trattoria with rum cakes and tortellini pasta with a cream sauce, pears and pistachios.

K: kilos; kilometers; kilograms

L: Luca Signorelli

M: Michaelanglo and the smell of the Sistine Chapel.

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N: Nutella!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

O: L’ Olivia grow like weeds and are included in every meal

P: Prego; Pizza; Pierro Della Francesca; Pesto; Perugia; Poppolo;

Q: Quando Costo?

R: Red is a color of passion. Red is the color of my nails. Red is the color of my eyes by the end of the day

S: Sienna; Sizes (even) 32-46 are readily available for skinny Italian Women

T: Toretellini with Pomodoro, Mozarella y Spinach

U: Umbria and their white wine

V: vino dolce, vino della casa, vino banco etc etc; Vespas are speed demons!

W: Can you wash it [your hair]?

X: X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XVIIII, XX…… Know your ROMAN numerals in Rome

Y: Giallo is Italian for the color Yellow and oh how I love my yellow!

Z: lo zoo… I have yet to see a zoo but I’m sure they exist somewhere….

I’m in Italy

It is always a little difficult to know how you will be perceived in another country especially as a Black person.  The emotions and questions range from fear to excitement and throw in a little arrogance while you’re at it: Will the men think I’m fine?  I hear they like Black women….I can work it! Do they think I’m a sex worker? African?  American? Gypsy?? Do they think this is my real hair or do they know its fake? Why are they staring at me, I’m not stealing anything! Shit, is that the police?? What are they staring?

For the last 3 weeks I have been traveling throughout Italy. I have been to Rome, Siena, Florence, Arezzo and Castiglion Fiorentino. Over the course of the next 4 weeks, I will be traveling to Orvieto, Rome (for 4 days), Venice, and Florence again and I can’t help but wonder how people perceive me. As the only Black person among 30 other students, I wonder what would happen if I wandered away from the pack?

1 Week Later

Well. I’m no longer wondering what people think of me by myself anymore. Mostly because once I traveled to Rome people STOPPED STARING AT ME. In the little towns of Siena, Arezzo and Castiglion Fiorentino the black population is slim…. or none. Then here I am walking around with an afro, brightly colored tops and scarves, butchering the Italian language while ordering a meal. I stuck out like a sore thumb. But I got over it rather quickly. The only people that haven’t so far, are the old Italian men that point at me and say thing in Italian…. And I can’t decipher a single world. However once I made it to Rome, no one gave 2 shits. Seriously. They couldn’t care less if I were, African, Black, BRITISH ( side note: someone thought I was British and I started to feel like I had a shot at dating Idris Elba), they don’t care.They want money. Its alot like New York City, actually. Mean Green runs the city and nobody really cares as long as you pay the piper.

Zanele Muholi’s stolen archives and the role of the black female artist

 

Imagine yourself as a visual artist. Imagine making a living on your drawings, photographs, paintings, performances, lectures etc. You have a huge studio with all the equipment and supplies you need in order to create your work. You have museums calling you, flying you around the world on their dime and paying you to speak to 200 students for an hour. They buy your dinner, organize a chauffeur, and even organize a liaison to assist you whenever you need. Museums, galleries and schools call you on a daily basis, begging for your presence. Your only responsibility is to provide the artwork. Now imagine if all your equipment is stolen. Imagine that all your paintings, photographs, and drawings were stolen. Your huge studio is now trashed and nothing is salvageable.

Zanele Muholi, a South African Lesbian photographer does not have to imagine any of this. Muholi has spent her entire life documenting the lives of South African lesbian. She has photographed women participating in intimate moments of love and affection, breast binding as well as victims of “curative” rapes. Muholi is recognized around the world as one of South Africa’s foremost artists and on April 26th her entire life’s work was stolen. You name it, and it was stolen. Her cameras, film, printed images, video footage, computers, and printers were all stolen. Muholi is a smart woman, and she backed her images on dozens of external hard drives. Unfortunately all of those were stolen as well! Over the last five years, Muholi has documented the funerals of victims of homophobic hate crimes in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Malawi. And of course, these are the images on the external hard drives. It is believed that Muholi was targeted due to the nature of her art work. And while some do not want to believe that an artist has been targeted, Muholi’s partner’s belongings were left untouched with the exception of the laptop. Since the theft, Muholi’s exhibitions have been canceled and her life is now on hold. She says, “”I’m not myself. I can’t even sleep at night since the burglary.”

 The lack of media attention and mediocre police investigation reveals a different side to how the black lesbian is received in South Africa. Although South Africa legalized gay marriage in 2006, the number of “mercy”/”curative” rapes, homophobic murders, and beatings are still on the rise in black townships. And now with the theft of Muholi’s work, one can only assume that the two are related. 

Every artist I know is livid. They could not imagine their entire life’s work being stolen and having to cancel exhibitions around the world. However, outside of the art world there are people who believe she was “asking for it”. “She knew it was a touchy subject, she shouldn’t have taken those types of photos, and homosexuality is against God ya know…” And while this can be debated for years, I am more concerned with how the artist is viewed in our society, especially the black female artist. Are black women supposed to paint pictures of the infamous “strong black man” ? How about Jesus? Should we paint pictures of women carrying baskets on their heads and smiling? Harriet Tubman? Martin Luther King? Or the one I love the most: “identity”. Museums are eating up artwork by black women that “explores their identity as an African American Woman in America”. While identity is valid, I personally feel that many art spaces are marginalizing black female artists by exhibiting “identity” based works in mass. Can a black female artists do anything else?! Yes! Yes we can !

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