Benjamin Gale-Platt
email: Bgalepla@pratt.edu


The centuries long cycle of “handling” Black bodies spans from the days of the Transatlantic Slave Trade when the notion of “Black bodies” came about, thus transforming humans into commodities. From that point on, these bodies have been defiled and mutilated, but also feared. The tropes regarding the Black body encompass a wide array of projections by whiteness; an aggressive body in a state of constant rebellion, a lifeless body with eyes glazed over -- whipped into submission, and a minstrelized nonbeing, among many others.

Without recycling any imagery that evokes the violent subjugation of Black people, thus capitulating to the public’s desire to satiate the white colonial imaginary with scenes of Black trauma induced by white terror, I wanted very simply to depict the flesh. An entity that exists in the context of duality; a nonbeing with agency in a state of living death. This body of work is more reflective of nature; landscapes, patterns, or an accumulation of bodies that are liberated from socially constructed narratives that seek to dehumanize Black people -- the Black body is so abstracted that it can no longer function as a commodity. The work does not shy away from representing the “other”, instead it exists in a world of its own beyond racial fetishism, commodification and pornotroping; here is flesh for the sake of flesh.