Friday February 16, 2018
In celebration of #BlackHistoryMonth, we're sharing this amazing painting by African American artist, Beverly McIver: Dora's Dance.
McIver grew up in Greensboro, NC during the Civil Rights Movement. It's impact on the country, and the South in particular, left a lasting impression of her. She attended a predominantly white high school and often felt the extreme socio-economic disparity between herself and her classmates. When she joined a clown club at school, she underwent all of the training including painting her face white. Assuming this disguise, she felt a freedom and mobility she hadn't felt before. But when she later discovered that she could paint her face black, she felt liberated. This gesture felt liberating and affirmed, instead of hid, her African American identity.
The inspiration for Dora came from an elderly woman McIver met in a nursing home who spent her life working as a housemaid. This woman longed to leave the home, but was never able to. Dora's Dance is thus an expression of affirmation and freedom.
Image: Beverly McIver. “Dora’s Dance,” 2002, oil on canvas. Museum Purchase: Funds provided by various donors. 2013.52 - Link