Afro-American Art, Artists

Mirror, Mirror by Carrie Mae Weems

Mirror, Mirror is one of the most famous works of the Afro-American artist Carrie Mae Weems. It is also very representative of a generation that was concerned with racial and sexual identity issues.

Carrie Mae Weems is an Afro-American artist that started to work at the mid 1980’s. Her work combines visual and verbal language in an attempt to portray the experiences produced by oppression and stereotypes of gender and race in American society. Also, she tries to recover references of the Afro-American culture to offer them to black women.

Mirror, Mirror is a print where she uses the irony, narrative and humour as a strategy to bring to the audience serious issues, regardless of their gender or skin colour.

mirror mirror
Mirror, Mirror by Carrie Mae Weems (Photo credit: artnet)

Although she usually tries to highlight referents of Afro-American culture, in this case she draws on a very famous fairy tale which origin is European and that talk about a princess famous for her beauty and the whiteness of her skin.

This direct reference to Snow White produces a huge impact on the viewers making them feel disappointed and even a little racist, they feel guilty for expected a white person on the photo and for be surprised by the black woman who was in the picture instead.

The objective of the artist is to awake or to make the viewers see that the references we got so assumed as normal the prejudice of race is present, even in those for children as fairy tales.

Mirror, mirror speaks directly to the public of the identity dilemmas, it is also encouraging the viewer to ask themselves about their referents of beauty and the beauty canon imposed.

the image of the woman looking at herself in the mirror has attached to it a text message that uses the same tone of racist jokes, but the artist uses it with wise irony to lessen the power of these jokes, even to ridicule them.


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