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DARWIN

In this work, I delve into the complex interplay between Charles Darwin's evolutionary theories and their subsequent social applications by the race scientists of the 19th century. Drawing inspiration from Darwin's observations aboard the HMS Beagle, I juxtapose the inherent diversity and adaptability of nature with the rigid, often oppressive frameworks imposed by those seeking to categorize and divide humanity along racial lines.

Utilizing ladybugs as a symbol for nature's vast diversity—mirroring Darwin's fascination with natural selection—I engage with the ethnographic style of photography, historically used to document and, regrettably, to 'other' non-European peoples under the guise of scientific inquiry. This artistic choice serves as a conduit through which I explore and critique the tension between the objective study of biology and its subjective misuse in justifying social hierarchies and racial prejudices.

As ladybugs crawl across my skin, their natural defense mechanisms release chemicals that produce a stinging sensation, a poignant, physical manifestation of discomfort. This discomfort becomes a powerful metaphor for the deeper, more insidious sting of being objectified and dehumanized through the lens of scientific racism.