What do you see in this artwork?
At first glance, we may be attracted by the glamorous Cinderella-like blue dress. Then you begin to notice the woman who is wearing it is actually a black lady.
Then the deeper you look, you more you begin to realize about the meaning of the small details. The dress turns out to be a maid’s uniform. And the portrait is a black and white image of a upper class white lady, probably the black maid’s master. The maid appears to be pulling threads of black-ness from the master.
This seemingly artistic piece of work indeed reflects a powerful message of racial equality. White may refers to the purity of beauty, yet nothing can come out of it without the edging shadows – patterns, shapes, pictures cannot be seen without contrast with any other non-white colors.
While the white race appears to be the dominating group especially in the modern world, its existence is meaningless without being with the other colored skin groups. The more the White people want to eradicate the black-ness out of their blood, the more they themselves disappear.
It seems to me that the black lady, despite her slavery status, grew in power as she drew in the black power – their own power, black and equally powerful as any other colors. On the other hand, the white people whose “blackness” is drained out of themselves are in fact weakened and they gradually fade away.
We are all equal in power, in existence, and we deserve to be treated the same.
Photo taken in Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.
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