The whole thing is problematic…I just…I just can’t.
Any artist whose creative direction is to be offensive for the sake of proving a point about something is clearly in the wrong profession. Art is meant to be controversial – yes but being offensive defeats the purpose of sending a message about justice or equality and ends up painting those who you’re trying to defend in a negative light which is…kind of counterproductive.
Nevertheless this particular piece speaks volumes not just because of how ill-informed the artist was but how completely unnecessary this picture was.
I’m sorry what?
‘because prejudice is only skin deep’
No. No it most certainly is not. The artist definitely needs to crack open a dictionary before he starts throwing around fancy words in his pseudo-profound quotes explaining his pieces because:
Prejudice is based on stereotypically judging someone based on a specific attribute of theirs and therefore painting someone a different skin colour whilst leaving their actual skin colour visible underneath does not…it just..it doesn’t send any message about ending prejudice whatsoever and I really can’t figure out why he would think it does.
Let me just say this:
SOMEONE’S SKIN COLOUR IS NOT A FUCKING COSTUME.
You cannot just wake up one day and decide to wear something as personal and unique to someone as skin colour as a goddamn costume – for the sake of ‘art’ or otherwise.
Skin colour is hugely linked to identity and when black people – especially darker skinned ones have struggled for so long to have our skin accepted by others it is the most painful, stomach soul-crushing thing when a person thinks they can just paint themselves our colour for a laugh then wash it off and go back to having a life devoid of the struggles we face.
Skin colour varies of course and although many methods such as bleaching or tanning can alter someone’s skin colour these are for the sake of attaining a certain beauty standard and not imitation, information pills which is where the line is drawn. Sure, using paint or something for artistic expression is fine however purposely altering someone’s skin colour to portray them as a different race or to mimic a person with a different skin tone to theirs is wrong.
This picture doesn’t invoke a sense of anything. People aren’t looking at it and suddenly being cured of their chronic racism nor are black people nodding their heads in unity and running up to shake his hand for such a barrier-breaking creative piece. In fact the whole article sounds like he did it on a whim and threw in some crap about prejudice to make it sound like there was purpose behind it when in all actuality there wasn’t.
Now let’s take a look at this:
Black people are not white underneath. White is not the ‘default’ or ‘natural’ state, skin colour is all dependent on melanin concentration which varies from person to person – whether they’re black or white (yes white people can have melanin).
The woman in the morgue hadn’t shed her black skin to expose a layer of white, either she just lost melanin and appeared to be getting paler as a result or a few layers of skin had been removed to expose pale flesh which would be pink if she was alive but was instead white as a result of lack of blood flowing to the cells – I can’t be certain because I don’t know the specifics but those are my best guesses.
But clearly this artist is clearly ill informed about a LOT of things and needs to do more research into whatever kind of sanctimonious idea he’s trying to get across instead of just blindly spewing bullshit and expecting everyone to sing his praises for his ‘outside the box’ approach to art.
Anyway, the article isn’t very long and fails to explain why or how this is being considered this particular artist’s ‘best photograph’ but it does give us amazing insight into the minds of those who try too hard at being controversial and instead end up with pretentious ‘art’ holding pointless messages and doing nothing other than being offensive for the sake of it.
Written by Wunmi Ibironke