Projects > Artnauts

The Souls of Black Folks
The Souls of Black Folks
Mixed media on paper

"The Souls of Black Folks" is the title of a book published in 1903, by W.E.B. Du Bois that talks about the need for equity, justice, voting rights, and “good” education for Southern Blacks. One-hundred and thirteen years later, these same issues continue to hold relevance in communities of color across America as the national media continues to stream the shooting deaths of unarmed black men, women, and children from police violence. As a bi-racial black man, I use self-portraiture as a vehicle to talk about history, race, and identity in America. The black smiling Putti images are caricatures of African Americans, these recall the stylized Sambo imagery of early Americana, which was used to degrade, dehumanize, and objectify blackness in order to justify the violence to black bodies (these are the souls, and the legacy, I carry as a black man… “the baggage”). The rag acts as a barrier, preventing speech, breathing, and participation across history and today (it also makes me think of Eric Garner “I can’t breathe” and waterboarding interrogation/torture).