Mixed Media > Wash

ethnic cleansing, soap sculpture, ceramic, text, CNC carving, otherness, belonging, ethnic slurs, racial slurs, refugees, life raft,
Wash

Ceramic soap dish, handmade soap, metal
6’ x 30’ x 7” installation
2019

I understand that some slurs may no longer be used exclusively in a derogatory manner. For example, the ‘n-word’ has been coopted by young African Americans to address each other, normalizing its egregious meaning and history, rather than as a racist insult. Each slur in the context of the concept and fabrication of the artwork is used as ‘hate speech’ and does not address or ignore other forms of amicable salutations. Randall Kennedy in his illuminating book entitled, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, (2002, Pantheon), Kennedy, a Harvard professor says, “There is nothing necessarily wrong with a white person saying “nigger,” just as there is nothing necessarily wrong with a black person saying it. What should matter is the context in which the word is spoken—the speaker’s aims, effects, alternatives. To condemn whites who use the N-word without regard to context is simply to make a fetish of nigger.” Pg.51/52. I defer to Professor’s Kennedy’s insight as I am a white person using the N-word in an educational or art related venue which he condones in this context. By conceptually washing away the epithets using the medium of soap instead of permanently carving the slurs in wood or marble makes each word impermanent and ultimately disappears.