1. the former practice of segregating black people in the US: eventually Jim Crow was abolished on interstate carriers | [as modifier] : Jim Crow laws.
2. an implement for straightening iron bars or bending rails by screw pressure.
ORIGIN. mid 19th century: the name of a black character in a 19th-century plantation song.
Racism is fostered by a proximity to and ignorance of the ‘perceived other’. The Jim Crow cartoon was the result of invention, the black males’ identity was caricatured as physical proximity allowed for the examination, isolation, and condemnation of their bodies and behaviours. The derogation of their representation was propelled by the racial hierarchy which fixes this ‘black other’ at a distance - and allows for them to be distorted in the interest of the inventor. As an expression of their opposite Jim Crow is an inverted portrait of the classificatory body, what they negate to augment their identity. To unmask Jim Crow would mean to look for the then black persons neighbour, manager or political representative who held white privilege.
The technique of blind drawing simulated the invention process of the black male - looking only at the muse, not the drawing, the figure’s form was shaped by my muscle memory and unconscious gesture so that only an impression of the muse is recorded. The A4 size recalls the pamphlets, posters and other Jim Crow propaganda. The cartoon has been bleached white - as the caricature says more about its privileged white creator than its subject. The scored white gesso was intended to recall sand-boxes, whose designs shift and disappear and can never be drawn the same way again. The only thing permanent is the changeability of the collective imagination.