Birthright2017 by Mequitta Ahuja

I made and first exhibited this work, Birthright, as the final piece in a series that dealt with a conventional portrait pose used for the depiction of American women during our colonial era. After repurposing the pose in several works, in this work, I diverged from the pose but returned to its original symbolic meaning, which was wealth and vanity. While my subject is also showing off, my work is about freedom. I am of Indian and African American descent. In Birthright, I show my subject wearing gold bangles and a pendant painting with the Hindu god Hanuman. She holds a family heirloom, which is a scrapbook my maternal great great aunt put together in the 1920s.

The accessibility of photography gave black people of earlier generations a way to produce images that countered the prevalence of negative imagery. I don’t know who the woman in the photograph is or how she might be related to me except... 2017
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Media: oil on canvas
Dimensions (h/w/d): 84 80 (213 203)

This artwork is in 1 room