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The Dinner

In my latest work, "This Dinner," I draw inspiration from the intricate and symbol-laden still lifes of Dutch and Flemish masters, weaving in the complex themes of racial stereotyping and the enduring struggle with 'otherness' that African Americans face. Through the meticulous arrangement of food and objects, each element on the canvas is charged with deeper meanings, serving as allegories or Vanitas—symbols of the vanity and transient nature of earthly pleasures, pointing to the ultimate futility of man's endeavors. However, in my reinterpretation, these symbols are repurposed to explore the nuanced dynamics of oppression and the shared yet contested spaces between two seemingly opposing sides that, beneath the surface, share profound commonalities.

The setting of "This Dinner" is carefully constructed to evoke a cinematic quality reminiscent of Jeff Wall's early works, offering viewers a window into a staged yet deeply reflective exploration of societal divides. Figures are positioned across from each other, engaged in a silent dialogue as they partake in a meal that symbolizes the system of oppression under which they live. This act of dining together on the symbolic representations of their struggles highlights the absurdity and tragedy of a divided society that essentially consumes itself. The visual feast laid out before them is rich with layers of meaning, inviting the viewer to delve into the historical and contemporary implications of racial stereotyping and consider the shared humanity beneath the constructed narratives of otherness. Through "This Dinner," I aim to engage viewers in a complex conversation about identity, power, and the possibility of reconciliation and understanding across the divides.