Hank Willis Thomas
By employing the language of popular culture and advertising into my work, I talk explicitly about race, class, and history in a way that is accessible and easy to decode. My intention is to use the familiar [or Roland Barthes’ ‘what-goes-without saying] to draw connections and provoke conversations about issues and histories that are often forgotten, or avoided in our commerce-infused daily lives. Considering the complexities of historical and contemporary issues, my work attempts to explore how visual culture of the past affects and intersects with our current world-view, often creating correlations between African American historical challenges and the present. I create two and three-dimensional works that bring history forward with relevance to our experience of race, class, and gender and conditioned by popular culture.