Cynthia Petry

Blackness Whiteness Cake
decorated real frosted cake with plastic forks
12” three tier cake

Blackness & Whiteness

Cookie lived on mud street Ricky was the wrong color
Don’t cross those lines

Blackness and Whiteness is rooted in the experience of racial bias as seen during my childhood in Virginia. The figures used in the installation directly reference interpersonal relationships that were lost and or broken due to racism. I see my work as a dialogue of the past and the present calling for restitution.

The sewn paper tapestry talks to the fragility of our lives and emotions created by racial bias.

In the South, food plays an important role in the life events of families, friends and community. Through this ritual, the viewer is confronted with racism and racial bias in a subtle slice of cake covered in sweetness making “White Privilege” disappear or “Savoring the Taste of Racism”.

The silverware utilized by the viewer features my ancestral slave owners and their slave schedule data. As the viewer’s touch the fork, their fingers reside on the nameless slaves.

Through the conversation, I hope to begin to unravel the racial bias that runs across generations.

© Cynthia Petry