Art Nanny of the Maroons. Each artwork in

Art is not always about what one see but is about what one makes other see.

An artist can incorporate million of ideas and adjectives in their art which can make their work unique. Below are the artworks by two different artists Faith Ringgold and Renee Cox possessing the same motif of supporting the empowerment of women and showing their aggression against the racism and sexism still prevailing in the society through their art.Renee Cox was born on October 16, 1960, in Colgate, Jamaica, into an upper middle-class family, who later settled in Scarsdale, New York. She considers herself as “one of the most controversial African-American artists who uses her own body, both nude and clothed to praise black womanhood and criticize a society which she views as racist and sexist.

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“Cox’s artwork is examined as a part of the feminist art movement in the United States. Some of her well known work in art history are Baby Back, Queen Nanny of the Maroons, 41 Bullets at Green River and Yo Mama’s Last Supper, which exemplifies her strong support to Black Feminist movements. Cox in 2004 created a photographic series named Queen Nanny of the Maroons. Each artwork in this series had its own uniqueness and varied from each other in terms of their dimensions. Her entire artwork in this series seems to be divided into two separate parts.

One which consist of colorful and black and white portraits of Cox as Queen Nanny in various paintings. While the other part seems to consist of only black and white portraits of different types of members currently living in Maroon community of Moore Town. One of the most well known and widely exhibited image from Cox’s work of this series is Redcoat, a photograph, 2004, 700 x 1200 PPI. The clothing and environmental setting of the scene are ambiguous and gives a sense of immortality to the viewer.

In this image, “Cox, as Nanny, wears the uniform of an 18th century British officer while holding a machete.” in her right hand. The red color of the  British military uniform is what made British officers look distinct from common people, thus nicknaming the soldiers “redcoats.” The manner in which Cox poses and the way the background references to 18th-and-19th century British military, represents the visual symbols of high – status, wealthiness, power and heroism of the figure. Redcoat can also be viewed in terms of gender role(male is dominant), power(Britishers had power), labor(women does labor work), and race(discrimination). Nanny’s coat implies viewer about her role as a military strategic thinker, comparing women’s position in warfare at present and in past. Also, the machete in the figure can be thought of as a symbol for women’s labor during that time period.Most of the photographs presented in this series discloses Cox’s passion for self – fashioning and signifies the power of female looks in context of the postcolonial and the present ideas of western womanhood.

It was also impressive to imagine and view black women performing military – like operation to not only free herself, but as many slaves as possible during the postcolonial period.Her second most important image is her piece of Yo Mama’s Last Supper. It is a large photographic collection of five panels, each 31 inches square and was made in 1996. These image have been considered both extremely important and controversial as it mirrors Leonardo da Vinci’s image ‘The Last Supper’. In her image, she uses her body, often naked, as a sign of self – love and empowerment. She uses her nude body as a representation of Jesus and  is surrounded by 12 fully – clothed black male disciples, with the exception of Judas, who were white.

This piece strongly highlights and explores the many roles women are expected to play by the society during their lifetime, often at the same time, and its effect. The piece ‘Yo Mamma’ illustrates femininity and power, and the role of a female as a mother and wife.Also, by representing the non – deceiver character as white and all else as black she tries to show the connections of black with bad and white with good. The ambitions behind her artwork are clear – to change the way how black people, particularly black women were viewed in society, and while doing so, to empower the minorities and create progressive debate through her art. To achieve her goal of changing the situation, Cox tries to surprise viewer by her works and challenges the cultural hypothesis.

The audacity of her work is central to empower the minorities she represents. Moreover, Renée Cox, Baby Back, photographic image, 360 x 283 PPI, 2001, from the series of American Family is also very well-known. In Baby Back, Cox as the model has the power to seduce with her red shoes, thin waist and shapely ass. By this, “the artist is pointing to one’s deficiencies and supporting her backside by making one aware of their own silliness.

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