I booked space for an art display at the Norman Public Library West side location. Initially, I wanted to connect art to children's literature classics in order to help young adults reconnect with classic literature. As I started developing my character sketches, I realized that almost all of the main characters in classic children's literature are perceived as White, whether or not they are explicitly described as being so. Why should children of color feel a connection to a genre that doesn't represent them or give them characters to wholly connect with?
I am re-imagining these characters as people of color in order to promote art and literature appreciation in the community, and to help non-White children see themselves in these characters. Currently in progress are Native American Gandalf, African American Mary Poppins, Native Harriet the Spy, biracial Matilda and a knight in shining armor as the literal centerpiece whose ethnicity will be up to the viewers perception, as his helmet will be down. I will complete at least 5 portraits, but hope to complete 7. For the Harriet and Matilda pieces, I plan to use two Norman children in order to help children see themselves as heroines./heroes.
In addition to having the art on display for free, I will provide a free print of any of the paintings to anyone who checks out one of the books referenced by my paintings. I would also like to make available free copies of an illustrated reading list (an image of a bookshelf with no titles on the books so that they can be written in).
The artwork is scheduled to go on display November 1st.
I would use to funds to purchase art supplies and materials, make prints of the paintings which will be given free to the public, make illustrated reading lists free to the public, and take time away from income-generating activities.
Funded by Oklahoma City, OK (October 2019)