Confronting Racism Through Art


| May 31, 2002 Issue

F or the last three years, Canadian photographer Wayne Dunkley has posted 260 photocopied images of himself in downtown Toronto and Montreal, which have subsequently been torn down, covered up and defaced. Each recorded response, he says, provokes viewers to consider their own response to "the black male."

In an interview with Kimberly Hohman on About.com, Dunkley says he started the project because so much of the current work that addresses race and perception is accusatory. "...[V]iewers would be inclined to shut down before any constructive dialogue could take place," Dunkley says. "Rather than point fingers, I wanted to present some of my own stories as a way to say simply, 'This has happened to me; make of it as you will.'"

You can share Dunkley's journey through his Web site, ShareMyWorld.net, which details his own and visitors' experiences dealing with race in everyday life. In one frame, Dunkley lists questions he has been asked, such as, "What island are you from?"; "Can you rap for me?" and "Why are the palms of your feet and hands a lighter colour?"

Through his project, Dunkley said he hopes to reveal "the subtle and not-so-subtle ways in which the black male is acknowledged or ignored." If we look inward, he said, "we have all felt the pain of being the other."
--Sara V. Buckwitz
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Related:
Race as Art, by Kimberly Hohman, Race Relations on About.com