The project's title references a description from, An account of the lives and works of the most eminent Spanish painters, sculptors and architects, of Juan Pareja, an artist and Velázquez's assistant which read "Juan Pareja, un Mestizo", Juan Pareja, un Mestizo (Christian-Morisco), after Velázquez, the first work of this project, revises the seventeenth-century spanish ethno-religious definition of race, as visualised in Velazquez’s portrait of Juan Pareja (his assistant) to the contemporary emphasis on skin colour. The skin colour of Velázquez’s Juan Pareja (a symbol of ethnic-hybridity) has been altered to that of the my sister, to update the portrait’s “hybrid-self” to fulfil contemporary popular imaginations visualisation of someone of mixed ethnicities. As someone of dual-heritage (African-European) but of a different skin colour of my siblings, defining ones identity upon the colour of their skin pigment seemed irrelevant and made clear that we must complicate out notions of being mixed race.
Josiah Odigie, un Mestizo (Swiss, Indian, English and Nigerian), portrays a friend who fulfils the contemporary definition’s focus on nationality.
Unknown Girl, a Mestizo, uses an example of my own racial profiling to exemplify how these quick assumptions are made, based on superficial and ignorant visual assessments, and imposed upon strangers.
To evoke the delicate fragility of skin, the contemporary signifier of race parts, Unknown Girl and Josiah Odigie are painted onto layers of treated translucent rice paper.
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