Sunday, September 9, 2018

'How do you see me?' at Catherine Edelman Gallery asks a simple but important question

Disrespected. Unprotected. Simultaneously hyper-visible and invisible. Misunderstood. All of these adjectives describe the particular way in which Black women are seen and unseen in our society. Which is why it's so vital that two of the three women photographers behind the cameras capturing the images for the How Do You See Me show at  Catherine Edelman Gallery were Black .

The sign on the wall stating that the artwork should not be touched, usually a mundane feature of any gallery, seemed especially poignant to me because just before I got there I had seen yet another incident of a Black woman having her hair touched without her permission in a video on Twitter. The sign was on a wall of photos of Black women with intricate, colorful hairstyles by Medina Dugger.

I love the dignity and grace of the subjects of Alanna Airitam's portraits.They have a timeless quality.

And finally, I was impressed with Endia Beal's juxtaposition of the worlds of home and work in her
Am I What You're Looking For series. She took pictures of young women dressed in their job interview best in their own living rooms with a large photo of her own former office space as an interrupting backdrop.

In a time when Black women are still being misrepresented and willfully misunderstood, this show asks a simple but important question. How Do You See Me is on view through October 27th. For more information on the gallery, click here.

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