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December 1, 2004
Vol. 96, Issue 6

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McIver’s “Self-Portrait 3” takes blackface to another level giving visual commentary on the domestic roles of African-American Women. (Photo: Beverly McIver/ Painter)
Greensboro welcomes blackface
By: Carla Aaron-Lopez &
Jannita Kegler
Echo Staff Writer

On Nov. 19 at the Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, NC, art alumna Beverly McIver opened her latest self-portrait exhibit simply titled, “Paintings.”

Since graduating from N.C. Central in 1987, McIver has traveled across the United Stated displaying exhibitions of self-portraits in blackface.

Recently, she moved beyond self-portraits into paintings of her mother focusing on the transformation of her mother from being alive to her death of cancer of the pancreas.

She happened to invite art students from N.C. Central to make their way from Durham to Greensboro to hear her lecture about her work and her close relationship with her mother.

McIver discussed her work intensively to the students maintaining points about details, expressive brushstrokes, and bright, vibrant colors.

She also discussed the problems with racism she had while attending graduate school, being one of few African-Americans at Pennsylvania State University.

Art professor Isabel Chicquor stated McIver would use clown-face to pretend to be someone else during her college years.

From her wearing this mask, she painted herself in whiteface later moving to blackface while in graduate school.

Ultimately, McIver shocked her audience with open visuals of racism and stereotypes.

Her contemporary work in blackface caused her paintings to sky-rocket to the mainstream art world. When viewed, it becomes personal to the audience taking a look into her psyche as an artist and a black woman.

The audience simply falls in love with the color of the paintings while being puzzled by her self-portraits.

Her work is currently being represented at the Kent Gallery in New York City and on display at Weatherspoon until Dec. 19.

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