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Din, Une Trés Belle Négresse 1

Mickalene Thomas, born 1971
2012, printed 2015
Chromogenic print
Current Location
Not on view
60 x 50 in. (152.4 x 127 cm)
Credit Line
Funds given by Margery Campbell Fort in honor of Jeffrey Fort’s birthday
© Mickalene Thomas
Object Number
In this photograph, Mickalene Thomas captures the strength of the woman’s gaze, her halo of dark hair, and her voluptuously made-up lips. The vibrant patterns of her dress and the wall textile background compliment her features. The model, Din, was a medical student who regularly posed for Thomas. Yet the portrait depicts a character created by the artist through her staging of the setting and costume. Thus, the image becomes a more universal representation of a woman exuding sensual beauty, confidence, and self-awareness. Thomas’ title, French for Din, A Very Beautiful Black Woman, acknowledges an earlier era with its use of the historically charged term “négresse.” Yet the title demonstrates a desire to create empowering associations with such words. In particular, Thomas employs a visual vocabulary that looks back to the 1970s—an era defined by powerful new images of black beauty found in popular media.
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