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Representation in Modern Art

As an artist, I have spoken about equity in art. But equity and representation are quite different things. Whether you are using your art to create meaningful change or to make a statement, the artist always has a point of view. As a New Jersey native growing up in Boston, and returning to the Garden State approximately 30 years ago, the world through my eyes will share a differe

nt perspective than an artist embedded in war-torn locations or long-forgotten corners of the world. What representation exists for an artist who is creating for the sake of creating, rather than taking stand through visual mediums.

My watercolor works that have been coined “Lifescapes”, exist to create a world of representation where light reveals the souls and places typically overlooked. Society’s aesthetic include portraits that reveal the powerful, the wealthy and those of influence. Few artists have dared to showcase the raw underbelly of the Eurocratic misrepresentation of people of color?

Is this accurate representation? Is this equity?

I was featured in the Harlem Times in an article titled “Compared to What”. In it, we discuss the fac that art has been the hallmark of every great generation, society and culture, and yet, we cannot walk into most public museums and see an equal representation of what art has to tell us about the societies

that have paved the way.

And so, what of the talk of diversity, equity and inclusion? Has the great “DEI-washing” (akin to “greenwashing”, the practice of enticing an audience through the promise of shared values, in this case “green” or environmentally friendly causes) of 2020 met its timely demise?

In recent times, we have heard muc

h about shining a light on typically underrepresented and even previously ignored populations. We have seen surface attempts at inclusion, but the larger institutional challenges remain. While we have certainly heard more discourse regarding artists of color, the statistical evidence does not support a bias-free environment.

Progress, in any case, is progress and yet, I have still to ask, do I feel seen? Perhaps through our art, whatever your medium, we can all be seen.

Pictured above: "The Thinker"

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