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In my work, I am utilizing critical race theory and intersectionality to discuss how race, class, and locality are used to devalue people of color. Framed socially and experientially, one's identity is in a perpetual state of flux. In an urban society, one’s identity paired with one’s outward appearance is equated to cultural currency and survival. The urban attire often perpetuated through trends, hip hop, and mass media allows one to be identified as “down”, though, to others outside the subculture, the attire and mannerisms have largely been marketed as signifiers for one who is violent, ignorant, or aggressive. The very gestures that would have such characters achieve acceptance in one culture create a greater divide and separation from other cultures, which view them as insignificant, or even a threat to survival.
In urban communities, representation beyond usual stereotypes is greatly limited or absent. Throughout the historical “master” narrative perpetuated by the mainstream school system people of color people of color are usually not legitimized as anything other than the underdog. Without counter-narratives Black figures and their importance in society as a whole are often ignored. Occasionally, as during the month of February. These select stories are shared and carefully crafted historical narratives that re-contextualize the Black figure. Sadly, these attempts at inclusion run the risk of further devaluing our contributions to developing and sustaining this great nation.
In unMONUMNAL I explore social constructs in regard to the essentiality of cultural Blackness as it relates to stereotypes ad how they relate to power and reaffirmation/ continuation of the problem of institutional structures that play a role in cultivating and sustaining the systematic oppression that defines the experiences for many Americans today.
"Don't Make Me A Target," digital composite, 2019
life size untitled figure 1, unMONUMENTAL, digital collage, 2017
life size untitled figure 2, unMONUMENTAL, digital collage, 2017
life size untitled figure 3, unMONUMENTAL, digital collage, 2017
Untitled figure, unMONUMENTAL, digital collage, 2017