The call out was for: ‘Roots and Wings, an exhibition held at House of Blah Blah, Middlesbrough exploring the themes of girls growing up around the world. Inspired by a study which stated that Middlesbrough was the worst place for girls to grow up in the UK. How do other girls get brought up around the world, and what culturally and ethnically differences do we teach on girls for us to grow up so differently or similarly?’
This made me think of what it was like for me growing up as a white girl in Brooksville, Florida- and how different it would have been if I had been black. I researched some history (racism, civil rights movement, segregation), primarily looking at Florida, but also the South. I used photos and newspaper clippings as references along with personal photos of myself inside my white bubble, inside the white privilege that I have benefited from all of my life. I surrounded myself with images of black girls growing up, what it was like for some of them- me in my bubble, them fighting for their civil rights.
This is not an easy subject matter to make art about and perhaps I did so in an ineffectual, clichéd way, others can judge this. Overall, I like the piece and learned a few things from history that I did not know or had forgotten.
I feel frustrated with the narratives and conversations going on about race in the USA. I recently came back from a visit there and felt dismayed at how some white folks feel that whites are discriminated against. They are mostly Trump supporters, as this is a core concern of his base. They seem to lack an understanding of the institutionalized racism that is alive and well today. If they have this understanding, then they simply do not care. They have forgotten history, constructing false narratives, downplaying America’s original sins: slavery and the genocide of the Native Americans.
And there is not one fucking thing I can do about it, really. Wrong! I can speak out at every chance!
(added note: Maybe I can do something– educating myself, confronting my own white ignorance and speaking out. This educator is a bad ass: http://janeelliott.com/index.htm)
Back to the fabulous art exhibition. If you are in the Middlesbrough area, the show is up until August 25th and features some amazing work from lots of artists!
Check out their page: https://www.facebook.com/blahblahhouse/