Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Journal Response to Kara's Afrofuturism in Tanekeya Word's Artwork

My computer wouldn't let me comment on Kara's blogpost so I decided to post my response here:

I think what I find the most interesting about Tanekeya Word’s visual art is the ways in which the people are sometimes blended into the background of the paintings. The colors in all the pieces are vivid and bright, yet the characters are camouflaged within their surroundings. I’m not sure if this is a purposeful tool by Word or not, but in some of the paintings that feature fully clothed women, the characters seem to stand out the most. An example of this can be seen in the paintings “Pucker Up” and “Sweetheart.” The characters are placed in front of a background that contrasts with the patterns of their body. In paintings such as “Bootsie” and “Lyric” the body seems harder to distinct from the background they are placed upon. The bodies of both characters are textured with various colors and it is hard for the viewer to determine if the characters are fully clothed or not.

I think this concept of blending into the background is reflective of themes we can see in Butler’s work. In the pieces we have read so far, we have seen characters that have an ability to blend into society; yet also have aspects of that can isolate them from the rest of society. The colors in Tanekeya’s work seem to be a somewhat chaotic, and yet still hold general rules and patterns. Similarly, Butler’s work represents characters amongst a society that is in chaos and our protagonists are representative of an “Other” that could be lost among that chaos, or stick out. In each of Tanekeya’s images, she portrays a solitary person representative of Afrofuturism because of details to body features, and symbols that directly correspond with the culture, combined with themes of alienation and outsider figures seen in Afrofuturist pieces. Butler similarly creates many themes of alienation that center around and outsider figure (as seen with Lilith, Anyamu, and Lauren) and how those characters evolve in a society such as that.

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