Black of My Flesh (2020)

Casting the figure of Mary as a Black woman, Lebo Thoka attempts to subvert Eurocentric ideals and explore Black womanhood on its own terms.

By Lebo Thoka

South Africa

“‘Black of My Flesh’ is a self portrait that examines Black womanhood through a critique of theology and patriarchal norms. It shows the figure of a ‘Black Mary’ reclaiming agency and destabilizing the ideals of what divinity is, and who is rendered valuable by human definitions. By casting the figure of Mary as a Black woman, the piece subverts Eurocentric ideals that appear to have set the face of divinity, and to whom it belongs, in stone. To decentre Western standards within the realm of celestial exploration is to begin the journey of exploring Black womanhood on its own terms.”

—Lebo Thoka

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