I am excited to return to the BAM Next Wave Festival with a new dance.
It’s amazing how life and current events change the perception and meaning of artwork. I began researching CITIZEN in spring 2014 during a visit to Paris. I was intrigued by a portrait of Jean Baptiste Belley. Who was this man? Who painted the portrait and why? Who was able to commission a full-figure portrait of a black man in 1797? Who decided to continue to save this portrait during the political upheavals? How was it determined that this painting should be housed at Versailles (the only image of a black person in the entire collection—a self proclaimed bastion of French heroes). Why was this painting not on public display? Why are there so few paintings of black folks in “history” who aren’t enslaved, wild, or caricatured?