These images were used to make a magazine for the first installation of Ideal.
When producing artwork, I develop themes of perceptions and representation, with no medium limitations. The latest completed series, Ideal, focused on the “ideal” depiction of black women through media and had how that message is internalized by those who view it.
Many things drew me to this series. I am a black woman who lives in the south as a black woman, I have seen my share of discrimination and racism. I am not far enough removed that I do not see the struggle poverty has taken on even close family members and the social injustice faced by many who share brown skin. But then, through art, environment, and education I was firmly immersed in white culture. LSU lacks diversity in professorship, in the program, I was the only black sculptor and one of maybe 2 painters. When this all came to a head I had all of this identity processing to do and no person I could process it through in a relatable way.
I google image searched “black women” expecting to find portrayals of art, beauty, and history, this was, however, not the case. I was confronted with pages and pages of pornographic images. It made me think, if media is made to sell to the masses, is this how media, and society by extension, shows me? This was the impetus for this body of work.I have been exploring issues of the ideal body image for black women as portrayed in mainstream media through my “Ideal” series. I have researched images on the internet, magazines, music videos, billboards, books, and many facets of television. This project delves deeper into African and African American historical renderings of race and gender’s past and present correlations.
After extensive research of vintage media, books, magazines, and posters, I have zeroed in on a few depictions that I think epitomizes the archetype of black women throughout history and displayed them in three installations. For each installment of Ideal included a few key elements. I created or altered fashions that could be contemporary runway ready, models with hair and makeup, and some with enhanced breast and buttock, the photo-shoot would yield some sort of media production.
The first iteration of Ideal was an installation and magazine. I created a maze of clothing ending in a wall of mirrors.