Thursday, April 20, 2017

Our Own Blood (Reuben)

Our Own Blood (Reuben)
11" x 14"
Mixed media

The mandrake is the symbol of Reuben, first son of Jacob; the biblical account tell us that he gave some mandrakes to his mother Leah to help with her infertility (Genesis 30:14). This papercut is made from comics featuring Marvel Comics' Wakandan King T’Challa, the Black Panther — the first black super hero in mainstream comic books. T’Challa’s birthright makes demands on him that he must balance against his own desires, as Reuben must later choose whether to wage war alongside his brothers. The pressure of primogeniture, the balance between family and responsibility to the outside world – these are the experiences of Reuben and T'Challa.

With representations of Black Panther drawn from his entire publication history – from his first appearances by Jack Kirby through the recent series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and drawn by Brian Stelfreeze — this papercut is the first of twelve in my newest series, which is an exploration of diversity and family. Just as the tribes were different from one another in character and vision, so are the tribes that make up the United States — and our nation is at its best when we join together.

Each of the papercuts in the series is made from cut-up comics featuring a minority super hero, in an effort to focus on these less-frequently heard voices, and to celebrate them. At the same time, I think about this series as voices of American dissent, at a time when we must all stand together and speak up against evil to ensure that our vision of a more perfect union remains intact.

The series is showing through the first week of May (2017) at Brave New World Comics in Newhall, California; details here. The original "Our Own Blood (Reuben)" is still available for purchase; giclée prints of all twelve are available on my store site.

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