Grandpa’s Chair/ Christmas Chocolates
Created from a moment in childhood, this painting marks one of the pivotal moments in which I learned the light tone of my black skin would provide me privileges not granted to other blacks of darker complexion. The story in the link below depicts an action of colorism experienced by me and my older sister carried out by our maternal grandfather and characterizes the prevalence of generational intraracial prejudice as a result from hierarchical conditions set forth during slavery.
Pearls and Peril/ Relax & Unkink,
Pearls and Peril was the series that launched my exploration of black middle-class children. Situated in a living room that depicts black girls just at the cusp of adolescence wearing white fluffy church dresses placed on and around a luxuriant gold-threaded couch surrounded by matching fringe lined pillows. The playful act of a pillow fight painted with vibrant color portrays a lighter image of violence while the treatment of the skin resembling acid burns points to a different type of disorder. The story in this link details growing up in an American suburb as one of very few black children in the neighborhood and school, when I first learned the importance of racial self-policing.
All the Ghetto Boys Hang Out at My House/ My House is the Spot
With this painting, the figure and her context are ambiguous. It becomes unclear if she is resting, has just experienced a trauma, or if she is defiantly turning away from the viewer. Although there is not a physical presence of black men in the painting, the title All the Ghetto Boys Hang Out at My House places them into context, however, it is unknown to the viewer at which moment they were/will be present. The story in the link details a night in my adolescence in which characterized sexualized violence faced by many young black women within their own communities.
Cali Bama Portrait of the Ugly Nigger/ Cali Bama
As a self portrait, this painting characterizes some of the ideological contradictions and misconceptions associated with ethnic bodies. As blackness and beauty have never been equivalent in dominant culture. The disparity between the title and the image helps point to these social contradictions. The linked story describes the moment in which this story was birthed.
Assume the Position/ Police Wheels & Donuts
Assume the Position is also a self-portrait. It is a representation of a specific moment in which I was forced to assume the position physically as a “correctional” protocol but also as a social and racial position. One that put me at the bottom of the hierarchy based on my color and gender. It is also a mental position; social conditioning that leads to a constant defensive state and stagnant paranoia. A position you may habitually put yourself in because abuse is your normal. The linked story details my most recent experience with police violence a few years ago and my first incident when I was a college freshman.