Story of Man
STORY OF MAN
History, like fairy tales and legends, depicts the struggles between good and bad, light and dark. But it is the victors who get to control the narrative, decide who we remember as heroes and who we remember as the villain, this is evident In the songs we sing and the stories we tell. Each nation, one way or the other is guilty of keeping its people in the dark and sculpting the story they want us to hear. The United states of America which is supposedly the greatest nation on the earth and the land of the free was founded on racism and brutality. The land itself was occupied by native Americans and Mexicans. The stories of America’s independence from Britain overshadows the lives and families that were lost in the process of gaining that freedom.
For a long time, I was told Abraham Lincoln was motivated by his righteous morality to end slavery and free the blacks from their tortured existence. I was sold the narrative that the intent of the American Civil War was to end slavery. But in Lincoln’s inaugural address to the nation on March 4, 1861, he said; “I have no purpose, directly or indirectly to interfere with the institution of slavery in the United States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so.” This quote clearly states that he was not the bastion of morality that we remember him as. The truth is that the details of why the Civil War happened had little to do with Lincoln wanting to free the slaves.
Originally from Nigeria, I now live in America at a time during intense conflict revolving around immigration and racism. America is at the point of its history where many immigrants are considered a threat and therefore families are being separated. The immigrants having their families separated are all people of color and recalls the racist history that America was founded on. The hypocrisy is that everyone in America, other than the indigenous, are immigrants. We find ourselves in a world that deals in half “truths”, controlled narratives, and false ideals. I am fascinated by this false sense of history in the making and have been compelled to create the project, The Story of Man.
The Story of Man is a series of black and white diptychs. Each diptych features photos of white men from the 1800’s and self-portraits I have created. In this photographic series I attempt to take back power by emulating the poses of these men. As a black man, I represent the minorities whose stories are absent from history, intentionally written out by governments that make policies that favor a select few. Through the juxtaposition of these historic portraits and the images of myself, I am attempting to expose the whitewashing of history. This work touches on the continuing struggle of so many to remain equal in a world that has the tendency to create divisions. My hope is that someday in the near future “All people will be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”