Friday, January 9, 2015

Keep the body take the mind

"Keep the body take the mind" 

Blaise is four 
and she carries the weight of an entire race’s hardship and struggle. 
This photograph represents the internal self struggle that she and so many other generations like her have lived and died with. Although slavery is now ‘illegal’, there is a type of racism that is still heavily present, heavily toxic and completely inexorable - colourism. The belief in hundreds and thousands of ethnic groups all over the world, including black, Asian, and Hispanic, that dark skin is inferior to light skin.

During the 18th and 19th century enslavement period, black female slaves were raped by their masters, producing mixed-race, light skin children. Although they were not provided the luxurious lifestyle of full ‘white breeds’, this shade of children were pitted above their dark skinned-relatives, who were quarantined in field labour, while the light-skinned slaves were promoted to house slaves.
A large number of early settlers in America grew cotton. To grow cotton and to pick, gin (remove seeds from the white fluff) and bale it took a great deal of work. Therefore large numbers of slaves were purchased to do this work. The darker skinned slaves usually did this job and if Blaise was born in to slavery on account of her skin tone she would have been a field hand.

I decided to name this piece 

"Keep the body, take the mind"

“ Willie Lynch was a vicious slave owner in the West Indies. The slave-masters in the colony of Virginia were having trouble controlling their slaves, so they sent for Mr. Lynch to teach them his methods. The word “lynching” came from his last name. His methods were very simple, but they were diabolical. Keep the slave physically strong but psychologically weak and dependent on the slave master. Keep the body, take the mind.”- Denzel Washington (The great debaters) 

And our minds are still dependent. Blaise's mind is becoming dependent and the generations to come will still continue to be dependent on this mindset that we has been imposed and kept in us.Unless change comes but until then the crown of cotton still sits on our heads polluting our minds and feeding the psychological weakness that the slave masters instilled in us the white mask that we desperately try to paint upon ourselves to be something other than we are. 

Black people were enslaved for over 200 years, during which we were not considered to be human let alone beautiful and the dimensions of this paradoxical beauty have weighed heavily in favour of white supremacy. 
Young, impressionable minds are geared towards the appraisal and pursuit of white power. Meaning that a venture towards “white” appearance is not only considered favourable in the realm of beauty, but would also win you greater opportunities and edge you closer to greatness. Sadly, this ideal lives on unabated.

I listened to sam cooke a change is gon come whilst I did my write up artist statement for my photograph for my last years university project and I literally cried. For the struggle of my people just because of the colour of our skin and with all thats happening in ferguson its heart breaking to still know that we still have so far to go. This photograph is so painful for me but I’m proud of it. Thank you to Blaise for posing for me and her mummy Soraya!