Arthur Jafa expounds upon the observations of black bodies being considered “the other” and their alienation, physically. The lack of inclusivity baffles me as Jafa expresses via artists quotes the strength of ego that will not allow a non Black artist to express their source of drive and content. There is a deep dissatisfaction with self from artists like Picasso and Pollock which is then rejuvenated by sounds and visual artifacts that parachute them into realms of success which would otherwise not be possible if their exposure to “the other” lacked.
“These artists were each students of the work under whose influence they had fallen, students in a fashion which white supremacy would typically make unlikely” (p. 250).
I consider the context in how these parallels also exist in the contemporary. As a black woman, my work can be praised and uplifted but my opinions and hard facts coupled with data can often be shadowed and excluded as to not threaten Eurocentric paradigms and respectabilities. The ideation of my work translates itself to what Jafa expresses: “representations of the black body, as rendered by traditional African artifacts, were rejected (by whites) as instances of verisimilitude and instead received as “highly stylized” or “abstract”. Europeans preferred to understand these artifacts as creative distortions rather than accept the existence of human beings that looked so radically different in appearance from them” (p 247). There has been this constant of 'inclusionary by way of exclusion'. For example, the African and Black interconnectedness catapults its culture so vastly that it is almost- conceivably impossible to not consider, reflect, or process it. That being, in some way or another whether to rebel or incorporate, the presence exists: in its existence however, if the people do not identify, there is a sharp neglect to give credit or acknowledge without expressions of superiority as if the offering is a gift- rather, the pedestal that is claimed, only exists due to the exclusion of source- to include the source, would be to relinquish power.
I see this neglect to identify the human in chosen works apart of permanent galleries and museums- often, the persons are excluded by abstractions of themselves or characters are highlighted as to not jeopardize the existence of the European standard- there is an intimidation that occurs when acknowledging all beings because it gives other people options and with options, people offer praise and rewards which in turn is still power politics. I value the perspective of Jafa and his insight: “...the radical difference of appearance functions, in the Western mind-set, as the sign of a radically different (alien) ontology, which of course threatened the Eurocentric belief in itself as the defining model of humanity”(p 247)
My question is then, in your choice to suppress a culture so deep rooted, vast, and strong, how is their strength in your craft or work if honesty does not exist in expressing the journey in which you got to your conclusionary product?
A SUPPORTED OPINION PAGE: