Artist Explodes Racial Stereotypes In Shape-Shifting Photographs

Artist Explodes Racial Stereotypes In Shape-Shifting Photographs

The Huffington Post

Priscilla Frank, Arts & Culture Writer

Shulamit Nazarian

“My experience as a person of color is different than others’. I have something to say.”

Artist Genevieve Gaignard grew up in the town of Orange, Massachusetts. Her mother was white, her father black ― one of the first black men to live in the small town. “I was always really aware that we were different,” Gaignard explained in an interview with The Huffington Post.

While Gaignard was well aware of her biracial identity, most of her classmates and neighborhood acquaintances simply saw her as the pale-skinned, redheaded child she was. They assumed, in other words, like the majority of Orange citizens, that Gaignard was white. “I passed along with everyone else,” she said. “I blended in.”

As a kid, Gaignard spent a lot of time in her room. “I was shy, quiet, in my own little world,” she recalled. She would listen to the radio, make collages and plaster magazine cutouts on her wall. She’d also obsessively look into the lives of celebrities like Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys, women who also were both black and white. She studied how they defined themselves, the spaces they occupied and the ways they existed in the world. “I would think, ‘Oh, they get to be black,’ or, ‘They’re kind of passing as white,’” Gaignard said. “I would search for images of their parents, trying to get clues. It’s interesting how media or the industry often decides where someone will fit in.”

“Basic Cable” Shulamit Nazarian

With no outside force to define her, Gaignard was left, like so many young people, feeling undefined. “It was this not knowing how to identify,” she expressed. “Not feeling black enough, not feeling white enough, that was the struggle.”…

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