White Skin, Black Kin: A Creole Conversation Piece
In this re-created (fictitious) family portrait, the white Creole female appears as “actress-text” in a plantation Great House tableau that unfolds to explore Creole family relationships. Posed against a background of patrilinear ancestry (portraits on the wall), the female family members (mother and daughters) articulate the gulf between symbolic masculine power and silenced feminine domesticity. I subvert this unequivocal form of portraiture by “re-presenting” the family in its entirety. While the white family members visually articulate (frozen) social and familial propriety in their well-decorated drawing room, the illusory black “family” members are shown to symbolically unravel the inconsistencies within the household through devices of visual and / or sound intervention. Through their constant “ghosted” movement within the picture plane and with their “behind the scenes” conversations, the black / interracial family insists on a presence that functions to rupture the artifice of the officially staged (historical) portrait. A violent history of sexual exploitation by the white master is sharply revealed to the attentive viewer.
DOWNLOAD EXHIBITION CATALOGUE HERE (PDF)
DOWNLOAD EXHIBITION PANEL DISCUSSION TEXTS by Annalee Davis, Charmaine Nelson, and Evelyn O'Callaghan.