Tori Bush reviews Katrina Andry's exhibition "Together We Stare out from the Shadows; Hiding from Their Prejudiced Stares.”
According to the original exhibition poster, this should have been the last week to catch Katrina Andry’s “Together We Stare out from the Shadows; Hiding from Their Prejudiced Stares” at the Isaac Delgado Fine Arts Gallery. The show opened on January 23. Seven days later, it was down. Delgado Community College has yet to make a public statement as to why the exhibition was surreptitiously cut short only weeks before an opening reception that had been planned for months, but I would surmise that the administration intentionally censored Andry’s work because it illuminates dark questions.
Andry’s titles are often blunt and to the point. In Western Interpretation of the Other, 2008, a white woman in blackface bends over, her butt to the viewer, while a yellow snake climbs one leg and a half-eaten apple lands on the floor. The work points to the historical over-sexualizing of black women’s bodies, equating contemporary depictions of the black pin-up or video vixen with the temptation of Eve. This work now feels somehow prescient in light of the Delgado affair. As the late painter Robert Colescott so poetically pointed out, “We've already come to understand that it's about white perceptions of black people. And they may not be pretty. And they may be stupid. We didn't make up these images. So why should we take the heat? But it's . . . it's satire. It's the satire that kills the serpent, you know.”
Katrina Andry’s “Together We Stare out from the Shadows; Hiding from Their Prejudiced Stares” was originally scheduled to remain on view through February 20 at the Isaac Delgado Fine Arts Gallery in New Orleans.