Date of Award

5-1-2018

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts

Department

Mass Communication and Media Arts

First Advisor

Spahr, Robert

Abstract

This thesis paper, Black Things, White Spaces, offers an in depth look into my journey as an artist and how my artistic practice has evolved over the years. Throughout this time of self-exploration, I have developed an interest in themes of racism, structures of power, representation and stereotypes. In my artistic work, I explore how these themes affect the African American community, as well as myself, as an African American woman. This paper utilizes the creative and theoretical frameworks by artists and scholars like, Bill Viola, Adrian Piper, bell hooks, and Franz Fanon to support the intentions of my work. This thesis illustrates for the reader how my work approaches these themes through certain methodologies, such as: tactical media, blurring the lines between art and life, and the manipulation of time and space. In this paper, I argue the importance of placing my work within the context of African American experiences throughout history. By doing this, my work is able to reference several events throughout history, while addressing our current moment in time. Included in this manuscript are detailed descriptions and analyses of each piece in the thesis exhibition. It is important to speak about the development and the intentions of my art. While speaking about the work, I compare and contrast my thesis work to previous artworks I’ve done, as well as other artists works, in order to place these pieces within an art-historical framework. Finally, this thesis, also addresses how my current work presented in the thesis exhibition will inform my future artistic practice. I believe that my contributions to the African American media arts practice creates spaces to celebrate diversity, empower the voiceless, but most importantly, creates new avenues for change.

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