What am I thinking about?????
Ceramic sculpture and portraiture, in particular, are forms of a visual narration that I use to satisfy my urge for documenting what I see in human nature. Evocative of well-loved toys and obsolete artifacts, I use the implied history of these objects to encourage the viewer to disconnect from the present situation and conjure their own individual narratives from my sculptures.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Blackface in Sheep's Clothing
Curated by Gail M. Brown www.gailmbrown.com
Exhibition dates- October 8, 2011 to February 12, 2012
The Fuller Craft Museum www.fullercraft.org
455 Oak Street
Brockton, MA 02301
“Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves,” Gospel of Matthew, 7:15
There is tragic irony behind the genesis of the “black-faced/minstrel” shows (created from the mid 1880’s up until the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s). More recently, in 2000, highlighting this history, Spike Lee Joint’s film, Bamboozled, exposes the deep-rooted racism inherent in these performances through a contemporary lens that demonstrates the damages still existing today. Looking back, however, the minstrels were created not only as a means to further popularize racism through the black-faced parodies, but also as a means for the white working class man to criticize the white upper class, disguised as black-face. And so, while this population of the white middle class was putting down the black population through racism, they were simultaneously putting down the white upper class for their own feelings of inequality through classicism. The irony is ripe.
The “black-faced” figurines were a token symbol of the minstrel shows and still remain objects loaded with racial tension and shameful intent. “Black-Face in Sheep’s Clothing” represents some of these underlying truths as the real black-face is revealed, by his white bare chest, his “sheep’s clothed” pants, and the sheep’s mask in hand. These elements simultaneously hide and reveal the condemnable history of the “black-face” and the figurines that perpetuated the racist imagery.