|Wendel A. White, Bordentown, NJ. Image courtesy of Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art, Newark, NJ.|
Schools for the Colored
July 18 – September 7, 2013
Artist Talk/Roundtable discussion: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 2-4pm
591 Broad Street
Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art is pleased to present Schools for the Colored, A Portfolio of Photographs by Wendel A. White.
In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois describes an early school experience, “I was different from the others; or like, mayhap, in heart and life and longing, but shut out from their world by a vast veil.”
Schools for the Colored is a continuation of White’s journey through the African American landscape. He began making photographs of historically African American school buildings during the first weeks of his Small Towns, Black Lives project more than twenty years ago. Wendel White describes that “the images in Schools for the Colored place structures and sites that operated as segregated schools under the lens, depicting landscapes that were associated with the system of racially segregated schools established at the southern boundaries of the northern United States. Schools for the Colored is the representation of the duality of racial distinction within American culture. This area, sometimes referred to as “Up-South,” encompasses the northern “free” states that bordered the slave states.”
Schools for the Colored is the representation of the duality of racial distinction within American culture. According to the artist, the “veil” (the digital imaging technique of obscuring the landscape surrounding the schools) is a representation of DuBois’ concept, informing the visual narrative in these photographs. Some of the images depict sites where the original structure is no longer present. As a placeholder, White inserts silhouettes of the original building or what the artist imagines of the appearance of the original building.
The architecture and geography of America’s educational Apartheid, in the form of a system of “colored schools,” within the landscape of southern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois is the central concern of this project, according to White.