Gender, Race, And Power Essay

2102 Words Nov 10th, 2016 9 Pages
The photographs produced by Lorna Simpson theorize ideologies of gender, race, and power. Her artwork is commentary of the state of blackness, specifically black womanhood, in America. Simpson knew from the beginning of her career that she wanted to focus on “race, a political fact and sociological fantasy that has shaped American culture so thoroughly for so long that no one can tell where its impact begins or ends, though countless people feel its effects every day” (qtd. in Cotter). Though these photographs were taken in the 1980s, many of the realities that they depict are just as true today. The representation of the black female body in Simpson’s photographs is significant as it is a body that is so often marginalized and fetishized. Not only is Simpson placing these bodies in positions of prominence, she is giving them the power to define their own fate and their own bodies. In her photography, Simpson emphasizes the political and cultural implications by highlighting anonymous individuals in her photographs. These anonymous women force the viewer to take another look and to begin to think about the wider concerns these photographs represent. The work of Lorna Simpson centers situated knowledges and emphasizes the power of history, of memory, and art as an act of bearing witness.

“Facing Difference: The Black Female Body:” hooks on Lorna Simpson
In the chapter, “Facing Difference: The Black Female Body,” bell hooks focuses specifically on the photograph, “Water…

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