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Nona Faustine’s photographs ask the question: what does it mean to be an American? In this episode, Faustine discusses her influences, which range from performers like Josephine Baker and Madonna to visual artists like Deana Lawson and Jean-Michel Basquiat. She talks about the importance of memorializing and honoring the history of enslaved people in the United States. How do we pay homage? Who does the land belong to? Who do we construct monuments to? She pays tribute to the African American women who have lost their lives tragically to police violence, speaking about the importance of mourning and the cultural traditions around being with our dead. Faustine also discusses her life as the child of Southerners growing up in Brooklyn, being a woman artist, and the logistical and emotional challenges of taking nude self-portraits in public spaces.
People, places and things mentioned: Bard ICP Program, Studio Museum of Harlem, Jorge Alberto Perez, Thelma Golden, Davis Thompson-Moss, Deana Lawson, Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, Black Portraitures Conference, Ana Mendieta, Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol, Sandra Bland, Rekia Boyd . . .
To see more of Nona Faustine’s work, please visit her website.