Editors Note: This article was written by Shanitra Cheff, CUAA's Director of Multicultural Engagement. In it, she offers context for her recent gallery exhibit piece, "Do You See..."
We were in the planning process of creating our 2021 Black History Month Strolling Art Exhibit as a part of Concordia University Ann Arbor’s Black history events and recognition.
I began to imagine a way we could incorporate our Black students and staff that would celebrate them as individuals. As the exhibit began to take form, the inspiration came.
Do You See… came to life in my personal ponderings on societal influences that hinder racial reconciliation.
Do You See… encompasses the best of our CUAA community and the worst of our society mindset.
Do You See… seeks to ask the question, “Do you see color?” through black and white images. Platformed on a distressed back drop, the word ‘color’ is displayed using images as the letters of the word.
For generations, a common rebuttal to race-focused dialogue has been, “I don’t see color.” This statement was once accepted as well-intentioned and to strike down the idea that the color of someone’s skin does not matter.
It is more clear today that it does not honor the uniqueness in all of Christ’s children. By stating this, one is basically saying that they do not see you for what makes you an individual and, in essence, voids one’s experiences as a person of color.
My hope in creating this piece is that Do You See… communicates these ideas and shares these takeaways:
- We want you to see our color
- We want you to know us
- We want our society to cherish the beauty of diversity and what rich experiences are represented through cultural heterogeneity
- There is no problem with seeing color, but it becomes problematic when color is used to determine treatment of any individual
Interested in this topic? This article by Education Week’s Larry Ferlazzo provides additional insight to the question, “Do you see color?”
More images from the Strolling Art Gallery Exhibit
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