Mickalene Thomas Ain't I A Woman (Keri) 2009

  • Not on view

“I wanna be evil, I wanna be mad,” croons Eartha Kitt, “But more than that, I wanna be bad.” The lyrics heard in the video explore womanhood liberated from gendered expectations of purity and fragility. This same theme is echoed in “Ain’t I a Woman"—the title of this work—an 1851 speech by Sojourner Truth during which she challenged notions of how women are defined and affirming that African American women ought to be included in the women's rights movement. Building on this legacy, Thomas portrays women who “are presenting to me, through their lens, how they want to be represented” —in this case Keri, a trans woman, posing and dancing to Kitt’s song.

Additional text from 2019
Video (color, sound; 3:33 min.), and rhinestone, acrylic and enamel on panel
Panel: 36 x 28" (91.4 x 71.1 cm) Framed Monitor: 17 3/4 x 24 x 5 3/8" (45.1 x 6.1 x 13.7 cm)
Gift of Jennifer McSweeney
Object number
© 2024 Mickalene Thomas / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Media and Performance

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