Sheila Slaughter

I appreciate the honest, raw and socially topical and important nature of Kara Walker's artwork, Event Horizon, vis-à-vis keeping present in the forefront of our consciousness, the evolving nature of racial and social transgressions…I worry too…in considering the nature of human behavior, revisionist history and the absence of consistent, balanced and positive representations of / intellectual contributions by people of color, how then, in viewing Event Horizon, the insidious nature of our respective internalized biases only serves to validate the mutual lived experiences of the oppressor and the oppressed, thereby propagating cycles of social dysfunction.

Both constituencies, in conforming with deeply embedded spurious social constructs, as depicted in Event Horizon, whether consciously or unconsciously, perpetuate victim mentality / engage in self-deception via an engrained practice of martyring their emotional and intellectual sovereignty – around established false ideas of social status, all in the name of avoiding painful truths as it relates to our unwillingness to question and once and for all, finally do away with the fabricated social constructs we continue to abide by: for to confront same requires one to genuinely divest themselves of all they believe they think they are: what a terrifying prospect.

I submit, Event Horizon allows many to continue to parenthetically consider race relations, without actually delving into the heart of the matter: addressing how, in the 21st century, and for all of our so-called affirmative action advances, we still find ourselves engaged in a tapestry of racial and moral decay. It seems it is far easier to continue to align ourselves with false social constructs in order to avoid examining our collective responsibility / participation in our emotional and social oppression.

If I could amend this work in any way, I’d incorporate an interactive component (online and on-site at various exhibition locations) allowing for the collection of relevant anecdotal histories and experiences by all, anonymity optional.


As it relates to perpetuating internalized biases and spurious social constructs:

-How embedded in the status quo are YOU, Why?

-How do YOU participate in self-deception?

-What are YOU afraid of discovering about yourself, losing, and why?

-In completely setting aside prescribed social precepts, how do YOU define yourself?

Sheila Slaughter
B.A. Liberal Arts, Concentration: Democracy and Cultural Pluralism, 2008