Race and Ethnicity
Reactions against patriarchy and gender inequality have been seen as shared concerns among artists in the vanguard of Second Wave Feminism, but they were not the only issues being confronted. Black Feminism emerged in the 1960s and 70s, forming its own organizations to confront overlapping issues complicated by race as well the masculinist emphasis of the black liberation movement. Women of color, working class, and lesbian feminists critiqued the “intersecting oppressions” of gender, race/ethnicity, class, and sexuality.
I became concerned with the issue of freedom of expression in figurative imagery, particularly the symbolic use of dark bodies. Researching the impact of race, I found that white male artists are free to incorporate any image….When African-American artists cross boundaries, we are often stopped at the border.
—Emma Amos (exhibition catalogue Emma Amos: Paintings and Prints, 1983–2003, Antioch College, 2005)
I developed a number of tools for inward looking, personal assessment through the women’s movement's consciousness raising processes in order to understand how racism and sexism work within the art community as well as the community at large. I found my true voice through the African American movement but received my training wheels in the women’s movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s. —Howardena Pindell (Feminist statement, 2007, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art: Feminist Art Base)
Image credit: Emma Amos. American, born 1938. One Who Watches, 1995. Acrylic on linen, heat transferred photographs on muslin collaged onto canvas, African Kanga cloth borders and cotton broadcloth fabric strips sew onto linen. Purchased with the gift of the Smith College Black Student Alliance, 1999–2000.