Date of Graduation
Master of Fine Arts in Art (MFA)
Sean P. Morrissey
Second Committee Member
Zora J. Murff
Third Committee Member
Vincent A. Edwards
Art criticism, Decolonial Aesthetics, Equality, Nike, Photography, Printmaking, Transnationality
(in)Equality. centers around my experiences as a transnational person and those around me who have affected my current concept of equality and cultural histories. My visual methodologies cover digital photography and editing, inkjet printing, and laser engraving: multimedia in a process of new discovery, translation between analog and digital, and rearticulation. The exhibition includes portraits peering down from above, illuminated by projected patterns and manipulated messages from Nike’s “Equality.” (2017). The purpose of this thesis paper is to describe the elements of identity, marginalization, and personal reaction to advertising, as well as the and theories which have shaped this project. The exhibition features various portraits of underrepresented populations due to their sociocultural identities, such as age, class, (dis)ability, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation in the gallery area, as a parody of the Nike’s problematic Equality. campaign and to hold a conversation about power dynamics since the most recent presidential election in the United States of America.
The exhibition seeks to showcase the voice of people who are undervalued or misrepresented. I am influenced by artists/designers Virgil Abloh’s ethos of street wear, Do Ho Suh’s sense of no home, and CJ Hendry’s hyper-realistic reproductions and ownership. Furthermore, I draw inspiration from theoretical writings of Walter Benjamin about mechanical reproduction, Byung-Chul Han’s discussion of digital communication and destruction of political engagement, Laura U. Marks’ rearticulation of history, K. W. Crenshaw’s idea of intersectionality, and colonial wounds by Walter D. Mignolo. By acknowledging how the concept of equality is narrated, the show questions the re-presentation of equality in mass media, Western history, and the stereotypes in the U.S. society, in the age of mechanical-digital technology and reproduction.
The “Equality.” campaign, capitalizes on the idea of equality as a marketing strategy and a consumer tool by using public figures of color and LGBTQIA+ professional athletes. From the perspective of a transnational artist, this exhibition retranslates and parodies advertisements and media by Nike’s promotional campaign. (in)Equality is about repetition: utilizing and borrowing the corporate media and products throughout the campaign direction into another form of presentation and representation of the people—the idea of equality suggested as hopeful interpretation versus multiple experiences of marginalization that speak to otherwise. Through a conscientious parody, the project calls out the discomfort or complacency of the viewer in an uncanny reality: unveiling intersected systems of oppression.
Choi, J. (2019). (in)Equality.. Theses and Dissertations Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/etd/3487