Visual artist Nona Faustine, a Brooklyn native, has published a series of provocative photos to underscore New York's role in the Transatlantic Slave Trade. The photo series, titled "White Shoes," features Faustine posing nude on Wall Street, at City Hall, in a Brooklyn cemetery, and at various other New York landmarks where African slaves arrived, lived, and died in America.
A graduate of NYU's School of Visual Arts, Faustine cites enslaved African "model" Saartjie Baartman and black American photographer Carrie Mae Weems as major influences and inspirations for her "White Shoes" project. "Through self-portraiture," Faustine explains, "I explore issues about the black body within photography and history."
Per her project's title, Faustine is wearing white heels in all of her poses. "They are symbolic of the white patriarchy that we cannot escape," she told photography website Dodge & Burn.
New York's major role in the slave trade is well-documented, and Faustine's "White Shoes" is a daring call for New Yorkers and Northerners in general to confront the wrath that slavery inflicted beyond just the antebellum South. While provocation is frequently cheap in this century's viral media landscape, Faustine has committed her talents to a proud and solemn tribute. A worthy cause.
A photo posted by Nona Faustine (@nonafaustine) on May 10, 2015 at 2:15pm PDT