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The Difference Between Me and You

 

♥, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

The Art of Creation or The Creation of Art, Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches

Black Madonna & Black Virgin, Oil on canvas in two parts, Each: 36 x 48 inches

The Difference Between Me and You is about race. My new oil paintings compare the physical similarities and differences between a Haitian model (Joyce) and a Dominican Republic model (Janderie) to explore notions about colorism, identity, beauty and power.

Haiti and the Dominican Republic share a tumultuous history. Between the late 1400’s and 1600’s, Europeans colonized the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The Haitian half was colonized by the French with African slaves. On the Dominican half, Spain colonized the indigenous Taino people. Both countries later gained independence, but due to outside political policies, corruption and natural disasters, Haiti became and remains impoverished. The Dominic Republic experienced greater stability and a stronger economy due to agricultural commodities such as sugar, cocoa and coffee.

While both countries experienced the devastating effects of colonialism, many Haitian people have been killed and discriminated against in the Dominican Republic. For example, in 1937, Dominican soldiers armed with machetes massacred an estimated 20,000 Haitians. Recently in 2013, tens of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent, were stripped of citizen rights. Many Haitians in the DR are often singled out because of supposed labor concerns and language differences but most are singled out because of their dark skin.

As an artist, I look for universal truths that connect humanity. The Difference Between Me and You deconstructs race and ethnicity to understand what truly makes a person. In the paintings, Joyderie I and Joyderie II, I combined Joyce and Janderie to create a new person. During the process, I experimented with Photoshop and noticed how the shapes of their faces matched. Despite their different complexions, Joyce and Janderie’s eyes, noses and mouths, aligned perfectly. Even their expressions, cosmetics and adorning jewelry shared similar visual connections. I saw and represented the vulnerability, humanity and soul in both of their eyes. The final result is a hybrid portrait of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The Difference also uses art history to investigate ideas about sexuality and power. In these works, the models are presented separately. Diovadiova Madame X is a 10-foot-tall painting depicting Joyce in a white latex catsuit standing triumphantly on top of two large skulls. The name refers to John Singer Sargent’s Madame X, while the use of dark skin against a white background is a nod to Barkley Hendricks. In Caravaggio, Janderie’s hands warn the viewer using an oil technique that requires 3D glasses for viewing. Les Demoiselles de la Diovadiova references Picasso with five versions of Janderie in various colored catsuits. She represents various elements of nature in a sensual superhero motif. Joyce’s sensuality is also conveyed in Black Power. In the painting, she wields a paint brush and represents Abstract Expressionism. In these paintings, women of color symbolize power while maintaining their sexuality.

Although Joyce and Janderie represent Haiti and the Dominican Republic, The Difference Between Me and You can apply to any peoples separated by ethnicity, race, gender, politics, sexuality, religion, etc. For instance, the paintings ♥ and The Art of Creation or The Creation of Art depict Joyce and Janderie facing each other. The women invite the viewer to imagine what each model is thinking. They represent a universal investigation of the “other”.

Kip Omolade, November 7, 2019  

 

Art Basel Miami, December 3-8 2019

Meijler Art - Scope Art Fair

For more info: https://www.meijler.com/

Diovadiova Chrome Joyce I, Oil on canvas, 36 x 48 inches

 

 The Diovadiova - Avoid a Void

Diovadiova Chrome Tribunal, Oil on Canvas, 120.5 x 156.5 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Trinity, Oil on Canvas, 120.5 x 186 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Tribute, Oil on Canvas, 120.5 x 156.5 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Triumph, Oil on Canvas, 120.5 x 156.5 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Kip Triptych I, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 74 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Kip Triptych II, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 74 inches

 

Diovadiova Chrome Kip Triptych III, Oil on Canvas, 36 x 74 inches

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