Deborah Roberts

Deborah Roberts

African-American
b. 1962
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Overview

Combining collage with mixed media, Deborah Roberts' figurative works depict the complexity of black subjecthood and explore themes of race, identity and gender politics.

Combining collage with mixed media, Deborah Roberts' figurative works depict the complexity of black subjecthood and explore themes of race, identity and gender politics.

Deborah Roberts was born in Austin, Texas, USA in 1962 where she continues to live and work.

Roberts' use of collage reflects the challenges encountered by young black children as they strive to build their identity, particularly as they respond to preconceived social constructs perpetuated by the black community, the white gaze and visual culture at large. Combining a range of different facial features, skin tones, hairstyles and clothes, Roberts explains that, “with collage, I can create a more expansive and inclusive view of the black cultural experience.”

Roxana Marcoci, Senior Curator at MoMA, New York, writes: “In her mixed-media works, artist Deborah Roberts acknowledges the syncretic nature of black female identity. Debunking societal definitions of ideal beauty and dress, as well as stereotypes of social media, she questions the construction of race and the racializing gaze endemic to Western culture. Her collages and text-based works not only articulate a critique of accepted typologies of the unified self but also affirm the untold value of difference.”

Deborah Roberts

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