"The Villainous Blossoms: Extracting Black Noise"
Found image that is digitally manipulated, tinted yellow and transferred onto archival mural and watercolor papers with hand-cut and sculptural elements, colored xerox, collage and iridescent medium, variable dimensions, 2023
Work takes its inspiration from the 1957 state dinner between FLOTUS Mamie Eisenhower and the King & Queen of Denmark, where I wanted to transform this bipartisanship meeting of dignitary heads to something more visually jarring and paint a dystopian constitutional portrait instead. Relying on the actual archival footage of Mamie’s yellow inaugural gown worn on that "fateful" night, work aims to interrogate the fungible connotations of what “yellowing” means within this contemporaneous moment, by recasting the color yellow as an explosive chlorine gas agent; then as Queen consort of King James I, Anne of Denmark, who in 1605 donned the first recorded “blackface” in theatrical history; then as “Yellowman”, a famous reggae star who suffers from albinism; then as a meditation of “bleaching”, a Jamaican subculture where dark-skinned Black people use dangerous, black-market chemicals to lighten their skin; and lastly, thinking deferentially of the African goddess “Oshun”. All in all, my revamped portrait of a now ahistorical FLOTUS Mamie ensnarls her in a fiery political hotbed that results in her head literally imploding. But her eruption is eerily soft and keeps body fully intact.