Experiences growing up predominantly in the complex urban environment of New York City while also having lived in D.C., Miami, Chicago, Denver, and Dallas, inform my work for the e/Mergence installation. Economic, social, and political disparities between so-called black and white communities are profound and apparent. The e/Mergence installation hopes to provoke questions about the status of African-Americans in the context of American society and politics to confront marginalization, civil and social injustice, and the absence of adequate economic or political power within a society that professes a foundation of egalitarianism.
My work for this exhibition includes abstraction and surrealism to express humanity. It also brings into question the mergence of perceptions about African-Americans with news and entertainment media propagated and perpetuated stereotypes and misrepresentations and the powerlessness embedded in American society's systems. I am using a fundamental form that carries with it some inherent perceptions about its stability and its power. The pyramid has a long history of conversation regarding its inherent power and the symbological power and structure that it lends when applied metaphorically in analysis and rhetoric.
In his article, Deconstructing the Pyramid of Prejudice, author David Light Shields defines that the pyramid has its power in its structure; the pyramid's base provides stability. The base of the pyramid represents the many in a group. Though they may perpetuate bigotry and intolerance, their acts are often minimized. On the other hand, their position in the scheme supports actors higher in the pyramid architecture (Shields 2014, 22). I am employing the form using a variety of material in sculptural design and combining it with video to represent the physical and intangible together.
Shields, David Light. “Deconstructing the Pyramid of Prejudice.” Phi Delta Kappan 95, no. 6 (2014): 20–24. https://doi.org/10.1177/003172171409500605.
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Rob J Phillips