Jack Whitten created memorials to notable Black figures
The late Jack Whitten memorialized important Black figures through his Black Monoliths series of paintings. Whitten began the series in the 1980s with a tribute to James Baldwin, and he continued producing new additions until his passing in 2018.
“With each one, I have to locate the essence of that person,” said Whitten. “That person becomes a symbol and I build that into the paint.”
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Doreen Garner confronted a monument’s racist history
For White Man On A Pedestal, Doreen Garner’s 2017 exhibition with Kenya (Robinson) at Pioneer Works in Brooklyn, New York, Garner recreated a monument to Dr. J. Marion Sims, long considered the “father of modern gynecology” who performed torturous procedures on enslaved Black women for the purposes of experimentation and research.
“He said that Black people experience pain less so he didn’t need to use anesthesia on them,” explained Garner. “But it was just an excuse for him to torture them.”
The monument, formerly located on the east side of Central Park in New York City, was removed and relocated by the city in 2018.
Staff picks for things to watch, read, and hear
Listen: Ear Hustle
Read: Essential Workers Are the New “Magical Negro” by Dali Adekunle
Watch: Vanguards of the Revolution
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