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Classical Still Life Series
2006

What is the Classical
Still Life Series?

The Classical Still Life

series consists of painted facsimiles of 19th-century style still life paintings. The subject of which is trade items once used by early European and American painters to create representations of class and status.  Commissioned paintings of decadent table settings depicting elusive trade items such as game birds, fruits, and teas commonly promoted the wealth of the ruling class.

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Hendrik Cornelisz Vroom The Return to Amsterdam of the Second Expedition to the East Indies, 1599

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Willem Kalf’s Still Life with a Chinese bowl, a Nautilus Cup and Fruit (1662)

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Image Credit: Soul Food Is Slave Food, Nature Beings, January 29, 2015, Brightsistahblog.wordpress.com

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In this photo from University of Maryland associate professor Psyche Williams-Forson's collection, a man holds two watermelons as a chicken passes by, circa 1904. (Psyche Williams-Forson) (Psyche Williams-Forson)

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Sweet Potato Pie

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Image Credit: Soul Food Is Slave Food, Nature Beings, January 29, 2015, Brightsistahblog.wordpress.com

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In this series, I fuse these trade items with images of soul food based on recipes created by slaves. The inclusion of this food that was developed from the literal waste of the upper-class serves as a reminder of the Slave labor that helped provide such extravagant displays of wealth. Furthermore, the addition of these low-class delicacies into such lavish settings is a humorous attempt at placing these items back on the Master’s table.

Some reference used:

The African-American Heritage Cookbook Traditional Recipes and Fond Remembrances from Alabama's Renowned Tuskegee Institute By Carolyn Quick Tillery · 2005

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Unidentified Artist Presumed portrait of Hercules Posey, 1748 - 1812, Oil on canvas, 29 15/16 x 25", late 18th century

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The Rhetoric of Perspective Realism and Illusionism in Seventeenth-Century Dutch Still-Life Painting By Hanneke Grootenboer · 2006

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The African-American Heritage Cookbook Traditional Recipes and Fond Remembrances from Alabama's Renowned Tuskegee Institute By Carolyn Quick Tillery · 2005

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