Sunday 28 April 2019

Sour lemons, sweet lemonades

National Portrait Gallery, Washington (Photo: Ben Hines)

In a training course for culture professionals last month, I showed the photo of a two-year-old black girl admiring the portrait of Michelle Obama at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington. She seemed awestruck and she reportedly told her mother that the woman on the painting was a queen and that she wanted to be a queen too. The point I wanted to make was that black people, or other so-called minorities, rarely do they see people looking like them as part of the mainstream narratives presented in museums; rarely do they come across the stories of people who look like them and who achieved something in their lives; people they could look up to.