Art depicting a community should be created by that community’s artists

SAXTONS RIVER — Elayne Clift's recent foray into writing about people of color is off the mark. It is a worthy topic. Perhaps she could have had a person of color write that column, on a subject of their choosing.

Anyone may make art. Paying, supporting, and promoting artists is a different topic. That publisher she wrote about who sought to do so made a good choice. I bet a $20 donation to a local group supporting and run by BIPOC that this white woman could look at a lineup of art, each depicting a person of color, and tell which was made by a white artist.

White artists really are that biased and full of stereotypes. I bet that portrait did not show a happy Black woman. I bet it was a European-style portrait and likely showed the person in a very slightly unfavorable way.

The best way to avoid bias, avoid subjecting people to the white gaze, and simultaneously have art communicating about a community is to work to support that community's artists.

We can all follow and read and financially support and learn much more from people of culture/color. One article appeared in The New York Times in June, giving voice to nine Black artists.

How does our community support Black artists?

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates