feature: faces: black beauty through black eyes- richie

August 22, 2016

When people see my work the common question is why do I feature black men so prominently as my subjects? I am not a black man. I cannot tell you what it means to exist as him or to experience the world from his perspective. As a black woman I have an adjoining view of the world. He and I share similar experiences, and yet we face differing challenges. Our views are side by side… but separate none the less. It is that exact gender divide which gives me a certain level of expressive privilege often denied to men by our culture.

Men of color are too often pigeonholed into a limited range of expression. Our culture tells him he is allowed to convey his thoughts so long as he doesn’t deviate from the “acceptable” roles racial and gender stereotypes have limited him to. It is from my vantage point as a woman of color, that I find myself in a position to be an advocate for his voice. Through my art I am able to leverage these thoughts to open doors. Many of the portraits in the series pair botanicals with the figure, as a symbol of the more vulnerable aspects of the men’s personalities. In a culture that reduces the beauty, grace, and intellect of black men to a two-dimensional caricature, it is necessary to promote images that break the cycle. The main goal of this painting series is to accurately depict people of color as multifaceted individuals. We are more than a stereotype. We are more than a caricature. We are living works of art.

By Julia Douglas, AFROPUNK contributor


Oil on Canvas 

Julia Douglas