(At Home) on Art and Identity: Artist Talk with Deborah Roberts Hosted by Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
“Having one’s identity dismantled, marginalized, and regulated to non-human status demands action. This led me to critically engage image-making in art history and pop-culture, and ultimately grapple with whatever power and authority these images have over the female figure.” – Deborah Roberts
Artist Deborah Roberts joined Evelyn Hankins (Senior Curator, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden) for a virtual discussion on power, identity, and challenging cultural myths and stereotypes. This event is part of 'Talking to Our Time', the Hirshhorn’s online series of free artist talks featuring a diverse group of artists and collectives. The talk is also part of #HirshhornInsideOut, the Museum’s initiative to bring art into your home.
Scroll down to watch a recording of the talk
From her earliest encounters with “mythical, heroic, beautiful, and powerful” figures represented in paintings by Italian Renaissance artists and photographs in mass media, Roberts recognized that these images did not reflect her experience. Her art practice has built on this idea to investigate America's long history of racial injustices, particularly the ways in which identities are imagined and shaped by social and cultural constructions of beauty, masculinity, and racial stereotypes. Roberts is best known for mixed media collages that commingle found images with pen and acrylic drawings, creating figures that reflect the challenges encountered by young Black girls and boys—as well as the ways they are able to upend existing norms—in the midst of building their own identities. By collaging together different facial features, skin tones, hairstyles, and clothing, her artworks offer a more nuanced and inclusive representation of Black cultural experiences.