An Artist Discovers His Black Heritage Through Photography

Posted in Articles, Arts, Asian Diaspora, Biography, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2022-01-05 17:18Z by Steven

An Artist Discovers His Black Heritage Through Photography


Beckett Mufson, Staff Writer


German-born photographer Zun Lee documents the special non-special moments of black family life.

In his late thirties, Zun Lee discovered that he was not the son of two Korean immigrants to Frankfurt, Germany, as he had believed for most of his life. He was the son of one Korean immigrant—his mother—and a black man he’s never met. He’s been struggling with this shift in identity ever since, most recently in the form of three documentary projects, Father Figure, Black Love Matters, and Fade Resistance. Each series examines an underrepresented facet of black culture, often actively fighting harmful stereotypes that Lee has encountered…

Read the entire article here.

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A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be

Posted in Books, Gay & Lesbian, Media Archive, Novels, United States, Women on 2021-11-03 16:48Z by Steven

A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be

Stalking Horse Press
376 pages
5.5 x 0.88 x 8.5 inches
Hardback ISBN: 978-0998433974
Paperback ISBN: 978-0998433981

Quintan Ana Wikswo

A searing, sensual novel with photographs, A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be weaves together southern fabulism and gothic fury, pulling at the restless, volatile threads of seditious American iconoclasts Zora Neale Hurston, Patti Smith, Cormac McCarthy, and Toni Morrison. At this devil’s crossroads of the King James Bible and the Egyptian Book of the Dead emerge the ghosts and realities of sex, race, violence, and hauntingly vulnerable emotion. Quintan Ana Wikswo has written an unforgettable and relentless reinvestigation of the American soul.

A Long Curving Scar Where the Heart Should Be unfolds on the unruly, mixed-race, queer-sexed margins of a conservative 1930s Southern town. In the wake of abandonment by her husband, an impoverished young midwife and her twin daughters create a hospice and sanctuary for the town’s outcasts within a deserted antebellum plantation house. The twins inhabit a fantastical world of ancient resistances, macabre births, glorious deaths, ravenous love affairs, clandestine sorceries, and secret madnesses—a site where the legacies of catastrophic injustice, bigotry, brutality, and grief contend with unquenchable desires for restitution, wholeness, sexual liberty, and lives of freedom outside the chokeholds of racism, misogyny and social constraint. Overshadowed by lingering scandals of miscegenation, the persistence of searing endemic violence, and a troubling secrecy surrounding their father’s disappearance, the women begin to walk into the discomforting limitations of their myths and wounds, and create their own new maps of sexual and personal fulfillment, resilience, and transformation. When the town claims that he is closer than they think, the women must decide whether his reappearance would offer wholeness, or unbearable consequences to their own hardfought, courageous journeys towards existential insurrection.

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ONE DROP: Shifting the Lens on Race

Posted in Arts, Autobiography, Books, History, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2021-02-27 04:26Z by Steven

ONE DROP: Shifting the Lens on Race

Beacon Press
288 pages
9 x 9 Inches
ISBN: 978-080707336-0

Yaba Blay

Challenges narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and lived reality to understand the diversity of what it means to be Black in the US and around the world

  • What exactly is Blackness and what does it mean to be Black?
  • Is Blackness a matter of biology or consciousness?
  • Who determines who is Black and who is not?
  • Who’s Black, who’s not, and who cares?

In the United States, a Black person has come to be defined as any person with any known Black ancestry. Statutorily referred to as “the rule of hypodescent,” this definition of Blackness is more popularly known as the “one-drop rule,” meaning that a person with any trace of Black ancestry, however small or (in)visible, cannot be considered White. A method of social order that began almost immediately after the arrival of enslaved Africans in America, by 1910 it was the law in almost all southern states. At a time when the one-drop rule functioned to protect and preserve White racial purity, Blackness was both a matter of biology and the law. One was either Black or White. Period. Has the social and political landscape changed one hundred years later?

One Drop explores the extent to which historical definitions of race continue to shape contemporary racial identities and lived experiences of racial difference. Featuring the perspectives of 60 contributors representing 25 countries and combining candid narratives with striking portraiture, this book provides living testimony to the diversity of Blackness. Although contributors use varying terms to self-identify, they all see themselves as part of the larger racial, cultural, and social group generally referred to as Black. They have all had their identity called into question simply because they do not fit neatly into the stereotypical “Black box”—dark skin, “kinky” hair, broad nose, full lips, etc. Most have been asked “What are you?” or the more politically correct “Where are you from?” throughout their lives. It is through contributors’ lived experiences with and lived imaginings of Black identity that we can visualize multiple possibilities for Blackness.

Table of Contents

  • Author’s Note
  • Intro
  • Introspection
  • Mixed Black
  • American Black
  • Diaspora Black
  • Outro
  • Notes
  • Acknowledgements
  • About
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Black, White and Red All Over: Genevieve Gaignard

Posted in Articles, Arts, Interviews, Media Archive, United States on 2019-06-02 00:39Z by Steven

Black, White and Red All Over: Genevieve Gaignard

Musée: Vanguard of Photography Culture

Ashley Yu

Genevieve Gaignard This American Beauty , 2019. Vintage magazine cutouts, clear acrylic, on panel, 48 x 36 x 2.5 in. (121.9 x 91.4 x 6.3 cm). Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.
Genevieve Gaignard
This American Beauty, 2019. Vintage magazine cutouts, clear acrylic, on panel, 48 x 36 x 2.5 in. (121.9 x 91.4 x 6.3 cm). Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago.

Genevieve Gaignard’s first solo show “Black White and Red All Over” is currently exhibited at the Monique Meloche Gallery in Chicago from April 5th-May 24th. The exhibition showcases Gaignard’s new body of mixed media artwork and a new site-specific installation. In this exhibition, the artist speaks on the intersecting representational issues of race, femininity and class in modern American society.

Ashley Yu: Why do you use photo collages of magazine cutouts as your medium of choice?

Genevieve Gaignard: I wouldn’t say this is my medium of choice per se. It’s more that I’m an artist that works in various mediums (photography, installation, sculpture and collage) in order to address the topics of gender, class and racial injustice in America. For me, it’s very instinctual to work with magazine images. I grew up collaging my bedroom walls as a teenager. I feel like, in a way, I’m taking from that memory and applying it to my practice…

Ashley: You often refer to the “invisibility” of growing up mixed-race in America. Would you explain that to us?

Genevieve: Sure. My particular experience growing up in a predominately white town and looking white to most people felt like I wasn’t really seen at all…

Read the entire interview here.

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A Century of Times Dance Photos, Through the Lens of Misty Copeland

Posted in Articles, Arts, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-05-22 22:43Z by Steven

A Century of Times Dance Photos, Through the Lens of Misty Copeland

The New York Times

Remy Tumin

The ballerina Misty Copeland reviewing photographs for the Past Tense: Dance section in The New York Times’s building. Karen Hanley/The New York Times

Ms. Copeland, the American Ballet Theater’s first black principal ballerina, served as guest editor for a special section on dance photography.

Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

There’s one photograph from The New York Times archives that stands out to Misty Copeland. It’s a black-and-white image of a group of young ballerinas, boys and girls, their dark skin accented by bright tights and tutus.

“They look so uncomfortable,” Ms. Copeland said in a recent interview. “In ballet, we’ve never been told there was a place for us to fit in. You can see that within this image.”

The “tension and awkwardness” that Ms. Copeland said she saw in the photo is familiar to her. She was the American Ballet Theater’s first black female principal dancer. Last month, when she visited The Times to serve as a guest editor of a special print section featuring dance images from our archives, she saw those threads throughout dance history.

The section is the latest from Past Tense, which highlights stories and photographs from The Times’s archives. Veronica Chambers, who leads the team, said that of the six million photos in the archives, at least 5,000 are dance-related. A dedicated section was a natural fit, as was the choice of Ms. Copeland as its guest editor, Ms. Chambers said…

Read the entire article here.

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The Secret Album reveals how a powerful truth changed a family forever

Posted in Articles, Arts, Biography, History, Louisiana, Media Archive, Passing, United States, Videos on 2019-05-22 21:03Z by Steven

The Secret Album reveals how a powerful truth changed a family forever

The Garage
HP (Hewlett-Packard)

Patrick Rodgers

A novelist learns about her mother’s long-held secret by search for what’s missing from her family photo albums.

The Secret Album is part of HP’s original documentary project, History of Memory, which celebrates the power of printed photos.

We treasure family photos not only because they illuminate the past, but also because they can offer up an alternative narrative to the stories we tell — and retell — about our identities.

This is true for author Gail Lukasik, who was just as captivated by what was left out of her parents’ snapshots as by the faces and stories they portrayed. Growing up in suburban Ohio, Lukasik puzzled over why there were so few pictures of her mother’s side of the family. In the stack of family photo albums, there were only a handful of black-and-white prints of relatives from New Orleans, where her mother, Alvera (Frederic) Kalina, had lived in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. “I felt very close to my mother, but she had a certain mystery,” she says. “When I used to ask her about that she’d say, ‘Oh I just don’t have any,’ which I thought was strange.” Her mother’s guardedness about her own family’s origins were yet another layer to their already complex relationship…

…It took Lukasik two years to confront her mother, and the encounter didn’t go well. “I had never seen her so afraid,” says Lukasik, who tells the story in her memoir, White Like Her: My Family’s Story of Race and Racial Passing. “She said, ‘Promise me you won’t tell anyone until after I die.’”…

Read the entire article and watch the video here.

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These Photos Celebrate the Beauty of Panama’s Afro-Latinx Community

Posted in Articles, Arts, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Latino Studies, Media Archive on 2019-04-05 20:41Z by Steven

These Photos Celebrate the Beauty of Panama’s Afro-Latinx Community


André-Naquian Wheeler

Kayla Reefer

Photographer Kayla Reefer’s new series, “Identidad,” explores her family’s roots in Panama.

Black people are everywhere, my mother once told me. I was sharing my anxieties about studying abroad in Europe, of sticking out like a sore thumb. In my head, blackness was something that began and ended in America. My history classes only ever talked about the slaves stolen and taken to the Deep South. But my mother was right. The African diaspora reaches far and wide: the Afro-Caribbean communities of London, Black Canadians, Afro-Brazilians, and on and on. The problem is how rarely the wide, far-reaching spectrum of blackness is taught, shown, celebrated, and acknowledged.

Photographer Kayla Reefer grapples with the ramifications of this everyday. She is Afro-Latina, the daughter of Panamanian immigrants. Growing up in California, Reefer talks about feeling the need to prove her heritage and identity to her black and Latinx friends. To show them she is not simply one or the other, but an amalgamation of histories. “Eventually, I learned to embrace both worlds,” she says. “Because they’re both me.”

Sadly, not all Panamanians take ownership of their Afro roots, Reefer says. She once saw a Panama census stating only 9 percent of the country was Afro-Latinx. The small statistic does not match up to Reefer’s reality, the people she sees riding the bus during her visits to the Central-American country, of her family and friends. “That statistic is absolutely not true,” she argues, anger in her voice. “It just feeds into the lack of awareness and knowledge of what an Afro-Latinx person is. There’s this erasure happening.”…

Read the entire article here.

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Artists on Artists: Genevieve Gaignard on Real Worlds: Brassaï, Arbus, Goldin

Posted in Arts, Media Archive, United States, Videos on 2019-02-25 01:01Z by Steven

Artists on Artists: Genevieve Gaignard on Real Worlds: Brassaï, Arbus, Goldin

Museum of Contemporary Art
Los Angeles, California

Genevieve Gaignard’s work mixes elements of self-portraiture, collage, and sculpture to present nuanced issues surrounding race, beauty, and cultural identity. Gaignard’s staged photographs create a platform for what she calls “persona-play-performances” within these spaces. The performances enacted within her photographic works are a combination of autobiography and allegory. Responding to the photographs on view in Real Worlds: Brassaï, Arbus, Goldin, Gaignard will expand on how these three legendary practitioners have influenced her own photographic work.

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A promise kept

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Biography, History, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2019-02-03 02:17Z by Steven

A promise kept

The Korea Times

Kang Hyun-kyung

The late Park Geun-sik (1954-2009) is captured in this photo taken in December 1992 in front of Korean-Amerasians Association in Seoul. He was one of the first batch of biracial Koreans born to a Korean mother and a U.S. soldier. / Noonbit Publishing

Photographer chronicles biracial Koreans living as strangers in homeland

Park Geun-sik, a biracial farmer and human rights activist who died of stomach cancer in 2009, had a dream that remained unfulfilled until his death.

Park, who was called Peter during his childhood for his half-Korean, half-Caucasian appearance, wanted his home country to remember people like him who were born to Korean mothers and American soldiers during and after the 1950-53 Korean War.

They were called “GI babies” when they were young and later “Korean-Amerasians” after they became adults. They were depicted by opinion leaders here as the “tragic outcome” of the war.

GI babies were the first batch of biracial Koreans who lived in this country, decades before the nation saw a surge of biracial children born to Korean fathers and foreign brides from Central and Southeast Asian countries who have been migrating to Korea since the 1990s.

Unlike now, when biracial children are entitled to various types of policy support and protection from the government, back then the GI babies were treated like unwanted children. Without policy support, they were bullied and discriminated against by their classmates in school and racial bias continued even after graduation.

Park’s humble dream ― the nation recognizing GI babies as part of Korea’s traumatic modern history and admitting the country’s mistreatment of them ― came true after his death.

Documentary photographer Lee Jae-gab, 53, chronicled the tragic lives of half-Koreans born during or after the Korean War and published four photo books based on the images he captured over the past 26 years…

Read the entire article here.

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The mixed-race experience: ‘There are times I feel like the odd one out’

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United Kingdom on 2018-08-26 23:34Z by Steven

The mixed-race experience: ‘There are times I feel like the odd one out’

The Guardian

Alex Moshakis

‘It has given people a sense of belonging’: photographer Tenee Attoh on her photography project.
‘It has given people a sense of belonging’: photographer Tenee Attoh on her photography project. Composite: Tenee Attoh

A series of portraits of mixed-race people from around the world has cast new light on how we see ourselves

Last year the photographer Tenee Attoh began taking portraits of multiracial friends and acquaintances against a mottled black background at the Bussey Building in Peckham, southeast London. Attoh is half-Dutch on her mother’s side, half-Ghanaian on her father’s, and identifies as mixed-race. Born in the UK, she spent most of the first 23 years of her life in Accra and Amsterdam, shuttling between cities and cultures, an experience she found enlightening but problematic. “On the one hand it allows you to develop a different understanding of the world,” she says of her duality. “But there’s still a lot of ignorance in society. People perceive you as either black or white, and you’re not – you’re mixed.”

Working in London, Attoh heard similar stories from other mixed-race people, and soon she began publishing her images online (at and on Instagram) alongside small texts that allowed her subjects to share personal thoughts on identity, race and self, something they couldn’t do elsewhere. Following the death of her mother, to whom the series is dedicated, the project helped Attoh dissect her own multiracial experience – what it means to be connected to two worlds at once, and how society perceives that condition – but it has also sparked an open forum on diversity. “It’s not a topic people usually talk about,” Attoh says. “So the website has become a platform for people with mixed heritage. It’s given a lot of them a sense of belonging.”…

Read the entire article here.

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