Ruud van Empel

Behind the Art: Does It Matter Who Makes It?

Behind the Art: Does It Matter Who Makes It?

In this post, I detail the controversy behind Ruud van Empel's work featuring black children. Although I've used this particular artist as an example, I've seen the debate arise surrounding several white artists who exclusively (or almost exclusively) paint black subjects. The questions of intent, appropriation and exoticism tend to combat the praise of positive representations for a group of marginalized people. Race theorist Stuart Hall has opened us up from merely critiquing whether or not representation of a particular subject exists to critiquing the ways in which the particular subject matter is represented. So if the representation is positive, should it matter who is creating it?

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