Projects > Shared Histories / Turkey (2011-2012)

Portrait of a bi-racial black turk, Afro-Turkish portrait
Untitled (Afro-Turkish Portrait Series)
Oil on canvas
130cm x 110cm
2011

Is there a unique bi-racial black experience that is universal? "Shared Histories" is an ongoing project about a bi-racial black reality inside and outside of America. I am traveling around the globe seeking a glimpse of what it means to be bi-racial and black. I have chosen to limit my search to people with one black, and one white parent, because this mirrors my own situation. These portraits are an attempt to find community and broaden the conversation about race and identity.

In Turkey, the black population has mixed with the white Turkish majority for centuries. Racial identity has been culturally forbidden until recently. The black population in Turkey are nearly invisible within the culture. For this reason, I have left the portraits as "untitled," highlighting their invisibility. I have chosen to make these paintings as straight portraits as a statement on the history of portraiture. My intentions are to create positive images of blackness that are more inclusive of "otherness" within visual culture.

More info on Afro-Turks:
www.thenational.ae/news/world/middle-ea?
www.africaresource.com/rasta/sesostris-?
www.africanglobe.net/headlines/blacks-e?