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  • Manju Sadarangani


Updated: Aug 11, 2021

Adheen: Under


20” x 20”

Acrylic & Mica Powder on Canvas

April 2021

As an immigrant, the symbolism of the Statue of Liberty is meant to comfort. Welcoming, representing the American dream, a stand-in for hope, armed with bright light relying on the book of laws. The last time my ferry zoomed past the Statue of Liberty, I found myself wondering what the Statue of Liberty means to my brethren descended from the enslaved. Their ancestors didn’t choose to immigrate, they didn’t come here to escape cruelty. On the contrary, they were wrenched from their homes and families, from comfort.

When they behold the Statue of Liberty, do they feel the same sense of welcome? Or do they feel abandonment, like Lady Liberty has turned her back on them? Do they see red where I see verdigris?

For this piece, I relied predominantly on black, white, shades of grey and red. I know I am not the first artist to grapple with the slippery color delineations of race. As an artist, the words black and white represent something stark. I have never met a person whose skin is as white as parchment, nor someone with vanta black skin. While working at the Red Cross, I did note that the color of blood remains the same for all humans, impacted more by oxygenation than race.

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