In December 2016, Yelena made two pictures with black body paint she had lying around from a Sinterklaas celebration. The first picture featured black body paint on her face, the second black body paint on her arm and fist. In January 2017, she made a third picture with black body paint covering her upper body and a white beauty mask on her face. When she published these pictures on social media, she was accused of blackface. The pictures were on and off the internet ever since as the painful subject they represent caused self-censorship. Although the encounter ignited an internal dialogue about race and representation. Black body paint is legally sold in costume stores, although using it on your face is a social no-go. So, Yelena chose to use green body paint that serves as a green screen where any skin color and ethnicity can be pasted into. Yelena┬┤s previous work with art historical body language led her to explore postures of people of color in Western art. In this project, Yelena investigates how people of color are portrayed in Western art and what their body language feels like. Exploring how the pervasive position of servitude, and exoticism influences the subject of colonial art.

  • art
  • year: 2023-ongoing
  • medium: performalist self-portrait
  • dimensions: 40x30cm








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