Black Women in Art Essay
Historically and currently African American women use art as a way to express themselves, their emotions and as an act of resistance. In this paper, I will discuss the various ways two very influential artists, Laurie Cooper and Lorna Simpson, use imagery to uncover and forefront the various forms of oppression that affect their lives as African American women. Since the late 1970s, African American art, as a form of self expression, explores issues which concern African peoples worldwide. During this time period, African American artists use symbols which represent the struggles, despair, hopes and dreams of a people striving to debunk prominent stereotypes and dismantle the intersecting oppressions of race, class …show more content…
The central image shows a smoke house in South Carolina that was also used as a slave hut. This adds a reference to the previous status of African-American women in this country, where slavery was first acknowledged about 310 years ago (as indicated by the number in the box to the left). It can be inferred that perhaps the number of bricks listed is the number of bricks used in the construction of the building.
Simpson first began putting hair in her work around 1990, and it can lead to many different interpretations. The only clue she provides to viewers is an accounting of the number of twists, braids, and locks. It has been suggested that the hair represents the age of an old woman, presumably one who has seen and experienced much in her lifetime.
The way Simpson challenges the viewer to think, her willingness to be provocative, confrontational and intelligent are a few things which enable her to stand out as a leader of African American female artists. Laurie Cooper is another outstanding black female artist. She challenges the shame and embarrassment society has taught her to feel for being a woman of color by shedding that ideology both figuratively and literally within her work. Laurie Cooper is at