Of Charles And Colescott's 'Cactus Jack At El Dorado'

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deal with present and past stereotypes in the context of today’s society.” In order to display connections between the past and the present, Charles takes common black stereotypical characters and reinterprets them in contemporary ways. For example, the image of Aunt Jemima, a mammy, which is a black character that is historically known for being the caring house servant for the white family, is a caricature that Charles often critiques in his work. Similar to Charles, Colescott plays upon the notion of Aunt Jemima in his painting Cactus Jack at El Dorado where he paints a well endowed black woman who cooks pancakes, which is clearly a reference to the famous Aunt Jemima pancake mix brand. Both Charles and Colescott use their platform of art to push the boundaries of what art can express as they …show more content…
The art market has favored African American artists such as Charles and Colescott whose work “promotes” racial stereotypes even though the artists’ purpose is ironic. In each of their paintings, notions of beauty, ugliness, longing, and violence appear, reminding the African American community that they cannot detach themselves from the past as it shaped them to what they’ve become, and ultimately how they are portrayed. However, a film that played a pivotal role in creating the negative racial stigma associated with blacks throughout American culture is the film The Birth of a Nation.
Birth of a Nation paved the way for racial stereotypes of Africans Americans to transcendent time throughout motion pictures. The film Birth of a Nation (1915) was adapted from Thomas Dixon’s novel The Clansman. “Dixon was a minister and lecturer and wrote The Clansman to offer what he felt was an accurate view of the South during the Reconstruction era.

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