Thorns in the Rose-brush :*Hommage to Henry Ossawa Tanner

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Copyright David G. Wilson

oil on canvas, 48"x48",1994; Collection of the artist


These paintings and text are published via this medium only for the intellectual edification of the general public . No unauthorized commercial use is allowed without expressed written permission.

Why is the human figure in the form of inanimate objects?

Anthropomorphism is the attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects. They represent the dehumanization of African people by the institution of slavery. The revelation of the composite human figure debunks the 3/5 of a man fallacy that served only the slave master's purpose. The slave master and the African slave catcher who sold his brethren into slavery refused to acknowledge the humanity of my African ancestors and instead chose to perceive them as merchandise. To them, they were marketable objects bereft of human value; a ploy to legitimize their cruelty. A still-life transformed into a visible human form is a cruel and reductive quation of our ancestors to merchandise bought and sold on the African shores and again on the auction block. In spite of his efforts, the slavemaster and his African collaborator could not destroy the irrepressible and indomitable African spirit, full of courage and endurance which was demonstrated by one of my great heroes,*Henry Ossawa Tanner who suffered the thorns of that deprecation.

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