Artist Profile: Jen Painter – day three

As she prepares her work for RACE AND REVOLUTION, a public art show this summer on Governors Island, photographer/videographer JEN PAINTER responds to the question:

How would you explain or describe racism in the United States?

Jen Painter

“The first words that come to mind are, “It’s complicated”. It’s something we say when we are overwhelmed or when it’s hard to talk about it. Sometimes I believe racism in the U.S. is simple: it’s always been about fear and power working together. Sometimes I think it’s unbearably complex: it’s always been about culture, roots, pride, selfishness, insecurities, religion, lifestyles, jealousy, protection, fear of failure or death or change, stereotypes, groupthink, social structures, economics, lack of education or miseducation, etc.. One thing I am certain of is that here and now in the U.S. we ARE talking about racism. Another thing I am certain of is that this particular conversation makes those participating feel incredibly vulnerable, which I think is a kind of key to the bigger picture. Every time I turn a corner and think I’ve made progress in my own understanding, something I read or someone I talk to will be waiting around the bend to rock my world and help me wake up, slowly.”

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