This series represents the struggle between two forces—those which are working against each other, creating tension. 

These images were inspired by Marina Abramović and Ulay, the performances artists who posed like this in 1980. It’s so dangerous, yet so beautiful. This performance actually made me think about colorism and its presence in my community. The dark-skinned male holds the arrow, while the light-skinned woman holds the bow. They are targeting each other, only to realize this causes friction. It is colorism which leads to lighter-skinned people being chosen over their darker counterparts. This pose mimics the issue, as people in two shades of the same race are at each other’s necks, not knowing that balance is possible.

The latter photos represent something personal. In the black community, men and women are plagued with an identity crisis. We do not know who we are, our image distorted by stereotypes. Being black is accompanied by confusion; we are called loud, ghetto, hood, ratchet, and unprofessional. And we all act as if mental illness doesn’t exist. Many African American men and women consequently suffer in silence. How can a flower bloom if there is no water to nurture it?

Photos by Yves Esapa
Modeled by Kimberly D’Oleo and Anthony Decimus

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