Quote of The Day

Monday, April 10, 2006

Lost in Artistic Translation

I love Black Angels. Art depicting African Americans or any other ethnicity is extremely difficult to locate. For years now I have searched art stores, with a mission to find art of ethnicity. Caricature style musicians, with morphed bodies, in a redundant line of prints, seems to be the only thing available. No beautiful children’s faces, or woman pictured in their natural state. Even searching the net was a dead-end. I let it go. The idea of accumulating anymore black faces was abandoned. Finding the yearly seasonal Angel, was an unusual bonus.

While hundreds of thousands of pictures decorating homes, portray Caucasians. I can’t imagine the deprivation felt by children who are constantly barraged with faces that clearly don’t mirror their own. Imagine never visualizing your own culture universally present, except in photographs. Being lost in artistic translation!

Then one summer a few years ago, I was at a flea market. My daughter was lagging behind as I foraged ahead quickly scanning the market for unique finds. Slower in pace, she seems to have a better eye for detail and came eagerly running to my side. Breathlessly explaining how she’d found these three prints I would love. Realizing I had completely passed them by, I retraced my tracks, where three stunning children’s faces peered out at me, through a mess of junk. My only hesitation was the black velvet canvas that they were portrayed on.

Not mounted and laden with dust, the faces were haunting, yet striking. The woman peddling them, disclosed that her grandmother had resided in South Africa for a time. They’d been a part of her possessions. I was dismayed, yet ecstatic, that she was releasing this rare find so cheap. I scooped them up with only a small hesitation. Finances permitting, I will eventually have them property mounted. For now, they adorn my loft, on makeshift mount board. bringing me great joy!

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