I am interested in the concept of skin and race, and what they imply; in the ideas and theories sown into our flesh that change with the arc of time. The idea of beauty has become globalised, creating homogenous aspirations, and distorting people’s self-image across the planet. In my film, I focus on African women’s self-image, through memories and interviews; using mixed media to describe this almost schizophrenic self-visualization that I and many others have grown up with —Ng’endo Mukii
-Best Experimental Short Film, Black Star Film Festival, USA August 2014
-Best Short Film, AfriKamera Film Festival, Warsaw, Poland April 2014
-3rd place in the Documentary Category, 2nd Afrinolly Short Film Competition, February 2014
-Best Animation, This Is England Film Festival, Rouen, France November 2013
-Best Student Film, Underexposed Film Festival, SC, USA November 2013
-Silver Hugo for Best Animated Short, 49th Chicago International Film Festival, USA October 2013
-Special Mention, 59th Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, Germany May 2013
-Best Short Film, Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, Lagos, Nigeria March 2013
-Best Animation, 7th Kenya International Film Festival, Nairobi, Kenya November 2012
The Coast of the Mexican states of Oaxaca and Guerrero have the highest population of afro-descendants in the entire country. This documentary was created because the people from the coast of Oaxaca requested that I film our talks on identity and blackness. The recordings take place in the towns of Charco Redondo and Chacahua, both in Oaxaca.
This is something I put together last minute because I had no intention of making a documentary. I wish only to give the people from the Coast representation as invisibilization of the Black race in Mexico is common. Rarely does someone think about Mexico when they think of the African diaspora but more enslaved Africans went to Mexico and Perú combined than the United States.
This documentary is intended to bring awareness of the African diaspora in Mexico and to help begin conversations on identity and blackness. — Andy Amaya
Conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas uses photography to explore issues of identity, history, race, and class. Inspired by the works of Carrie Mae Weems, Lorna Simpson, and his mother, photographer Deborah Willis, he employs language and familiar imagery to address issues that are often overlooked in our pop culture-obsessed, consumerist culture. Appropriated print advertisements from 1968—a landmark year in the Civil Rights Movement—are stripped of their context to open up questions of cultural stereotypes and the way the media perpetuates them, while in the series “Branded” he inverts the work, adding contemporary ad copy to provocative images. “In recent years I have approached my art practice assuming the role of a visual culture archaeologist,” Thomas has said. “I am interested in the ways that popular imagery informs how people perceive themselves and others around the world.”
Raise Up – 2014
And I Can’t Run – 2013
Amandla – 2014
For information on the artist, his work, and upcoming exhibits, check out the Hank Willis Thomas page at Artsy.
See also this Ourstorian post and the trailer for the film Through a Lens Darkly, which features photos and commentaries by Hank Willis Thomas.