WHAT WAS TAKEN

AN ARTIST STATEMENT BY CHRISTIE NEPTUNE

When what lies beyond the other side of strength is trapped behind a glass wall, what can one do, but carry on? This reflection runs like merr­go­ounds in my head, hurdling forward, then backwards. “What Was Taken” is a photo-­series that spotlights the communal effects of police brutality and the mythos of “the strong black woman.” Following the murder of Mike Brown and the riots in Ferguson, I thought a great deal about the mothers of the slain. Freedie Gray. Eric Garner. Mike Brown. Trayvon Martin. As Mother, how do you stand strong in the face of tragedy?

I explored this idea by capturing a series of portraits featuring black women pressed against hard surfaces. Their emotional vulnerability allowed me to create a counter narrative that explored the limits of self.

As Women of color, we carry the burden of being “Strong.” It looms eerily above us in times of trial and tribulation. We are forced to tuck away our feelings: our grief, our hurt, our pain for the sake of moving forward. 60% of black women silently suffer from depression, yet many are reluctant to seek help because of the stigmas and prejudices associated with Mental health in communities of color.

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Artworks © BY CHRISTIE NEPTUNE

Artworks © BY CHRISTIE NEPTUNE

Emma SapersteinComment