Nona Faustine Confronts History through Portraiture

Self-portraiture allows me to respond to those images of people who were put on display as examples of inferiority, politicized black bodies in the early history of photography. Images made long ago and ideas perpetuated even now.

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I document myself in places where the history becomes tangible. Acting like a conduit or receptor, in both protest and solidarity, with people whose names have been forgotten and whose contributions remain unacknowledged. Conjuring past memories embedded in the land. The resulting images are both historical and anti-historical, as they pose questions to which the answers have been violently denied.

The figurative and literal weight of the black female body, the role it plays in Western society, and the canon of art history, reconstructing a narrative of race, memory, and time that delve into, stereotypes, folklore and anthropology, and family lineage. These are meditative reflections of a history Americans have not come to terms with, challenging the duality of what is both visible and invisible.

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