Caribbean Artists Mine Their Immigrant (mixed) Identities | Black Cowboys

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. —

“How do you prepare yourself for the possibility of becoming invisible?”

This question is part of a much longer title, “A History of Massacre (How do you prepare yourself for the possibility of becoming invisible?) ‘A hundred years after the U.S. occupation began, the deoccupation has yet to come…,’” a video by Jamaican-born, Miami-based artist Jamilah Sabur.  It’s a fair question for a massive hunk of the world’s population, if they haven’t been marginalized to invisibility already.  But the experimental short film specifically references “the recent exodus of Haitians from Brazil to the US,” the artist told Hyperallergic. “I found myself preoccupied with the root cause of migration, the destructive trade policies, and the legacy of brutal US occupations.  Haiti is the center of this global condition.”

READ: Caribbean Artists Mine Their Immigrant Identities

The Black Cowboys Whitewashed from American History

The photographs and videos in Black Cowboy at the Studio Museum show images of nonwhite cowboys, bringing Americana in line with historical accuracy.

The Studio Museum in Harlem’s Black Cowboy seeks to rectify the whitewashed identity of an American archetype.  The cowboy — a historical figure, a way of life and livelihood, a symbol of Manifest Destiny, an advertising trope, an idealized version of manhood, and a tragic loner — is no simple symbol.  But before considering these nuances, Black Cowboy is primarily concerned with showing nonwhite cowboys, bringing Americana in line with historical accuracy. For example, the wall text notes that in the 1800s, 25% of cowboys in Texas were African American, and that cowboy culture (horsemanship, western saddles, rodeo traditions) persists to this day in black urban communities from Los Angeles to New York, and in rural areas in between.

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