Room Two

Entering room two was very different from the art in room one, there was a shift in materials that Walkers used. Unlike room one where Walker shows us her paper cut outs the audience is exposed to one of Walkers collections called ‘Dust Jackets for the Niggerati’ which is a series of graphite drawings, the fact that Walker has used the same subject matter with different art materials shows her diversity as an artist and allows her to relate to other artist which I feel makes her a modern artist.

As I walked into this room the first few drawings confused me, I feel as though that may have been the intentions of Walker. ‘Another Ancestor’ 2010 (figure 3) and ‘A Rural Antidote’ 2011 (figure 4) felt unsettling as I couldn’t figure out what they were telling me, maybe they were placed in the exhibition for this reason. After undergoing my research I’m still not sure and hope in the future I’m able to find an understanding for the two of them.

On the same wall was ‘The Daily Constitution 1878’ (2011) and ‘Dixie in the Dogwoods’ 2010 (both figure 5) I feel that putting these two drawings was a very thoughtful as they both look at the way females of all races were portrayed in this time, ‘The Daily Constitution’ looks at how the white slave owners mock the black women whilst going through a tortuous whipping, the drawing clearly shows them finding this daily routine humorous. The first thing that came to mind was the question: did these black females refuse their owners sex? Walkers disturbing drawing may make one think that this could be an over exaggerated description of these moments but the author of ‘America’s women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines’ Gail Collins backs up Walkers work as in the book Collins spook to former slave Annie Clark who states ‘They’d dig a hole in the ground and put their stomach in the hole and then beat them”(America’s women: 400 Years of Dolls, Drudges, Helpmates and Heroines, Gail Collins). From considering what Collins has written in this book Walker has almost taken this grotesque scenario and made it some what lighter to what it would normally be. For ‘Dixie in the Dogwoods’ the is a complete shift in power as Walker creates a piece of work that shows a black male aggressively having his way with a white female as others looked upon the two of them. Researching into white women having sexual relations with black slaves presented me with a very different idea than what I already had, I assumed that the male slaves may have taken advantage of their slave owners wives out of anger towards their owners however at the same time the wives may have enjoyed the company of the slaves and white women were still seen as inferior to their husbands, Jacqueline M Allain (2013) writer of the article ‘Sexual Relations Between Elite White Women and Enslaved Men in the Antebellum South: A Socio-Historical Analysis’ expresses that ‘an upper-class woman under suspicion of an affair with a slave could accuse the slave of rape. Because black men (like black women) were seen as inherently lustful and prone to sexual vice’. Reading this then made me believe that this situation isn’t how it seems, even though there is no way that this scenario is acceptable but with Allains article and Walkers piece of art I am beginning to come to the conclusion that the man and woman are intentionally in the situation that they are in. the facial expressions that Walker has drawn on her main female and male do convey a sense of aggression from the male and a emotional and hurting feelings from the female and so depending on the viewer this piece could be taken in many different ways, I personally believe that this piece of work showing the black male taking advantage of the white female as there is no one of physical superiority around him so he is able to take control of this advantage.

Figure 3



Figure 4



Figure 5




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