Does the work of Harmonia Rosales Africanize classical European portraiture or does it seek to approximate Black mythologies to Western ideals? Is her work politically transformative or assimilationist? In this talk Dr. Roberto Strongman will argue that both impulses coexist in her portraiture. Instead of trying to resolve opposing identities and contradictory agendas, Rosales’ work establishes a system of associations between European and African referents as well as between acculturation and deculturation in a way that can be best described as Creolization: the Afro-diasporic strategy of survival through resignification, mimicry and subterfuge.
Roberto Strongman is Associate Professor in the Department of Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Harmonia Rosales: Master Narrative will be on exhibit till June 25.