Birth of a Nation
The nude body of this woman represents the mother of those who were ripped from the belly of Africa never to be seen there again. America is born!
Men with light skin and hairy faces like lions surround us in our village. Their faces look unfamiliar and menacing. We have seen this expression before from other tribes who come to conquer. They are dressed in tattered clothing draping off their bodies. They smell like rotted meat and their teeth have all gone bad. They are armed with foreign weapons that shoot fiery-hot, metal balls that melt into your body and are not seen until the flesh is torn away leaving a gaping hole where the heart or brain used to be.
We were gathered in herds like wildebeest by a people we do not know. They shouted and screamed at us in a language we had never heard. They began to savagely beat us like animals. They chained our families together with rusted metal shackles that burned our skin hot from the sun rays. We cried out in our language, “What have we done, what have we done!!?”
During the long and exhausting walk to the ocean, some die and are cut from bondage and left to be eaten by the waiting buzzards that sense our death and flew over us. Our last vision of Africa stirs before us in the vision of a large and unwelcoming wooden ship. We see other tribes from our land suffering the same fate. We are led like inhumane cattle up a ramp and fed into a dark and cramped, damp, rat-infested ship. The smothering taste and feel of our own feces engulfs our every breath as we lie shivering and necked in this splintered wooden tomb of the middle passage. If we survive the journey, our new home will be a place called America. It is then that we realize that we will never see our homeland again.
Her body is young, fertile, ripe and firm; she is a perfect specimen. She stands erect behind a large wall in New York, frozen in fear. White men with walking canes dressed in fine clothing and big black hats hold up numbers on paper as the wooden hammer crashes down each time an African is sold. I made her faceless because to him she is not human. In Africa, she would make a man a beautiful wife but she is no longer in Africa. She is now the property of a white man who violates her at his pleasure with no repercussions. She can no longer choose her mate. Her voice screams to empty ears of a continent that can no longer hear her. She is impregnated by a monster for the “Birth of a Nation.”