Friday, February 9, 2018

Artist Statement for By(e) Default Exhibition at San Diego Mesa College Gallery

I’m a white female artist making work that seeks to challenge white supremacy. For a white person to have their full humanity, they have to actively oppose white supremacy, and I want to be whole. My art materials are the stuff of everyday life - the deceptively innocuous things marking our presence within the spaces we inhabit each day.

Health and beauty aids are things we bring into our homes, put on our skin, and use in our daily routines voluntarily. We encounter office supplies in a myriad of ways, and even in the most impersonal institutional setting, they come in contact with intimate details of our being.

As mass-produced commodities, these materials also maintain a connection to global capitalism, reminding us that we are part of a bigger picture of structural oppression. This awareness can be an entry point into a conversation about race.

I’m increasingly turning to autobiography in my art-making, spurred on by a question posed by antiracist organizers at a meeting I attended:
“When did your family become white?” I obtained some of the materials for these artworks during my first visit to Canada in the spring of 2017, as I pondered my French Canadian ancestry, which I know little about since my maternal grandmother died when my mother was two years old. I even found an academic article titled How French Canadians became White Folks, or doing things with race in Quebec during that trip.

This deconstructing of whiteness gives me hope.
- Suzanne Broughel