This work ships from Chicago, IL, US.
Frank Ishman’s many photographic projects consider varied perspectives on race and identity. This print is an early study for his series The Benevolent Order of Ephraim Longstocking (2016), which is part of his larger ongoing project In Walks, A. Man. The project is a very personal portrayal of his own childhood memories, family members, and battle with self-acceptance. Within the series, Ishman creates characters inspired by the Agatha Christie novel And Then There Were None (1939), a story that was constructed around a racist children’s rhyme from the 1860s that is based on a British blackface minstrel song. In many of the images, Ishman dons white face while modeling as Christie’s characters, stating that the appearance is “how I thought I should look in order to succeed based on the underlying values set forth by my mother and grandmother.” In this image, a watermelon stands as a placeholder for the history of negative stereotypes against black people, while the moon represents the enormity of human innovation—that despite its expansiveness fails to conquer fundamental issues of civil rights here on earth.
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