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Artist Nona Faustine Makes a Bold Statement by Posing Nude at Former Slave Sites



Brooklyn born artist, Nona Faustine explores the relationship between the black body, history, and photography through self portraiture. Her 'White Shoes' series explores the 250 years of slavery in New York by revisiting the locations crucial to this history.

Faustine explained the photo project to The Huffington Post:
"Standing at Wall Street at the exact spot where they sold Native and African men, women, and children 150 years ago, I wasn’t able to feel any of the horrific sorrow and pain of the activities that once went on there. Perhaps it was a defense mechanism that wouldn’t allow me to tap into that for fear of crumbling. What I did feel was the energy of New York City, an incredible force. There I found myself at the curtain of time between two eras, past and present. I went into a deep reflection. My eyes are wide open, and still I’m there and not there. My body is pumping with adrenaline. My anxiety is extremely high. During all that, you filter out as much abstractions as possible so that you can maintain some sort of composure for the camera as people, cars and buses go by. My senses are elevated. Sounds in particular I hone into. I have this feeling of being watched, by something or someone not actually there at times. I’m extremely aware of my presence in these places."


Faustine was inspired by a photo of an enslaved woman named Delia, who she first encountered in Carrie Mae Weems' piece 'From Here I Saw and I Cried.' Her work is also inspired by the story of Saartjie "Sarah" Baartman, a Khoikhoi woman exhibited throughout the 19th century due to her large buttocks.

View images from Faustine's White Shoes series below.



"Even The Comfort of a Stone Would Be A Gain" Atlantic Coast, Brooklyn


"From My Body I Will Make Monuments In Your Honor" Pre-revolutionary Cemetery, Brooklyn


"Over My Dead Body" New York City Hall


"Judgement Day" 60 Supreme Court, New York City


"On This Spit Of Land Massa and I Reside" Pre-revolutionary Dutch Cemetery, Brooklyn


"They Tagged the Land With Trophies and Institutions From Their Conquests" New York City Hall


"I Was Brought Here To Stay," installation, free standing images on acrylic painted wall

Images: From the White Shoes series, Copyright Nona Faustine

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