About the artwork
The piece is part of a series of works from my show “Stop Playing in My Face” at De Buck Gallery, in New York. I was trying to find the feminist voice in the work. I had developed a way of creating images using images from popular culture that communicate the culture of domination, like advertising, which tells us that we need things to have value in life.
Women’s bodies come into play, so I had to resolve how they were being used in the work, in a conversation around agency. Trans women were inspiring the forms in the works via the shapes and forms that the dancers I was looking at were making, but the image library I’m working from didn’t have those trans women in it, so I would use figures from sources like King magazine, Excel, Dons and Divas, and Black Lingerie, lifestyle magazines that cater to girls in the “urban” modeling industry. I was looking at people like Black China and Amber Rose, women that make an industry in selling their own image, which to me is a radical and even a post-feminist approach. So I’m asking how these trans women I’m looking at for inspiration navigate agency in the world.
Explosions became part of that library as a way to visualize the way certain forms of oppression have to be detonated. The earlier ones did not have the African masks, which are luxury objects in certain contexts. How are these objects even in the market? That happened through the legacy of white supremacy and imperialism and colonialism. I was looking at African masks and I went from making these images to heraldic symbols as faces, and then actually putting the masks into the works. The Wu-Tang work is a step in that direction.
Each edition comes stamped with Wu-Tang logo emboss.
From the Journal
Rashaad Newsome: Exploring power and status through heraldry
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About Rashaad Newsome
Exploring power and status through heraldry
“Bringing a sense of community into the visual”
Ranging freely among formats from collage and video to dance and performance, Rashaad Newsome addresses topics like sexuality and sexual identity, racial difference, and the power of imagery to convey power and status...