Wow this pissed me off more than I thought it would because Holy Crap I kind of expected it for back in the day, but within the last few decades? JFC I hate people.
This is what I mean when I talk about how our attitudes NOW regarding race, sexuality, morality, and how art SHOULD be massively affects how we view artwork from the past, and becomes a PART of that history and that art!
I’m not always being figurative with language like that. In so many ways, our attitudes about race dictate what we see, and how it is categorized. For example, how the Head of Memnon was classified before they identified who it was a portrait of:
Portrait of Maria Salviati de’ Medici with Giulia de’ Medici, by Jacopo Pontormo. Italy, c. 1537.
To be honest, the history of art restoration is full of disgraceful erasures, and a lot of the works whose appearance we take for granted are actually the result of restorers messing up really, really badly.
Priceless portraits of Shakespeare were irreversibly “cleaned” of painted changes that were made during Shakespeare’s lifetime to reflect how he looked as he aged. It was also painted over and lightened in portions. There is no way to fix the changes made by modern restorers to these centuries-old images.
Another painting discovered relatively recently, the Tree of Fertility, “somehow” lost its 25 painted penises during the restoration process. The 750-year-old fresco was discovered in 1999, and the restorers just painted over the penises.
Michelangelo’s David was actually coated in wax and stripped with hydrochloric acid, which removed the statue’s original patina, in 1843. Of course, that didn’t stop them from cleaning it again in 2004, resulting in the resignations of several restorers and curators from its housing institution who maintained that under no circumstances should it be cleaned again.
So, yeah. You can probably imagine how many images have been altered in the centuries between when the paintings were made, and us viewing them now. So, to answer your question, if people are willing to just paint OVER mixed-race children, Shakespeare’s face, and a tree full of penises, pretty sure that obscuring and/or lightening European paintings of people of color has happened and may well continue to happen.
An interesting aspect of this head’s modern reception was its initial characterization as that of a savage hunter, constantly aware of his natural environment but incapable of abstract thought. Once the association with Herodes’ Memnon was made, however, the ideal of the noble savage was replaced by the perception of a great character of introspection, even melancholy.
Memnon was a famous philosopher’s beloved student who died tragically young, probably of an illness. So WHY on EARTH would he have been classified a “savage hunter….incapable of abstract thought??”
These aren’t just “ideas”, they are pervasive and insidious patterns of negative stereotypes and assumptions that can change a contemplative and brilliant young man into a mindless “savage”. After all, his appearance didn’t change! The problem is firmly in the minds and hearts of the viewer, the museum curator, the cataloger, the patron, the art historian.
And we should ALL be thinking about how that affects the way we perpetuate anti-Black and racist assumptions in our own worldviews, and interactions with others in society.
For the first time in our history, African-American women have surpassed all groups in college entrance based upon race and gender. That’s right. African American women enroll in college (9.7%) more than Asian men (8.4%), white women (7.1%) - you name the group, either race or gender, African American women are number one.
Break the string of lies and end the misogynoir (racialized antiblack misogyny). Shine bright!
(h/t For Harriet)
Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's new book Americanah explores the ‘strange construct’ of race in the United States. “You have to learn what it means to be black in America,” she says. In the interview she tells Terry Gross about why she aspired to have straight hair living in Nigeria:
"[T]he rite of passage from girl to woman is when you can go get a relaxer and have your hair straight. I remember looking forward very much to my last day of secondary school. … When I graduated secondary school, what I really wanted to do was go straight to the hair salon and get my relaxer, so my hair would be straight. Then I came to the U.S., and … I couldn’t afford to get a relaxer at a hair salon here because I thought it was just needlessly expensive. So I went to the drugstore and bought the relaxer kit and decided to do it myself, which didn’t end well. Having then a scalp with really bad burns, I suddenly thought, ‘Why am I even doing this?’ And that’s when I stopped using relaxers. And it took a while to accept my hair for the way that it grows from my head."
image via Random House
An example of how the cascade of interventions not only effects your birth outcome, but your chances of breastfeeding successfully as well. It doesn’t always happen this way, but more often than not this is the story I am told by
momsparents asking questions about their birth and breastfeeding trouble. As a mother who gave birth via induction with my first, I can 100% attest to the route that describes the baby being effected by the meds and having difficulty establish a good feeding relationship in the beginning. We persevered, but it was tough going for the first three months or so.
I did change the moms one but not the mother, since it is a self-description. This is a very good diagram that shows the ways that a hospital induced birth can go. These are things to be aware of if one is having a hospital birth which is why I believe if you are going to do a hospital birth, try to find a doula that will advocate for and help you during the process. There are many volunteer doulas in areas otherwise searching online for one usually works.
The Iberian Biche of Balazote, from Balazote (Albacete, Spain). Dates to the 4th-5th centuries B.C.E.
This sculpture represents an androcephalic bull (a mythical animal with the body of a bull and a human head). It formed part of a funerary monument in which it performed the function of guardian and protector.
The head is sculptured from a different block to that used for the body. The mouth is small, the eyes large, there are the remains of horns (which have not been preserved), and below them the ears. The hair is indicated by tufts using a straight incision. In terms of iconography it is identified with the representation of Achelous, a Greek river god.
Combined with its features and general style this means it can be considered a work of Greek influence created on an underlying oriental base.These doe figures consisting of multiple incised strokes engraved on shoulder blades have only been found in a specific region along the northern coast of Spain and may be interpreted as symbols identifying a territorial group.
I want you to imagine that every person openly carrying a gun in these photos, is a 20 year old black male. How long before they get shot? How long before they are arrested on some bogus charge? How long before someone (like Dunn) decides they look like gangsters and shoots them?