ARTIST IN RESIDENCE | SPRING 2022
Metal print, broken glass, picture frame
15.5 x 14 x 2 inches
With the very first breath I took in 1965 apartheid South Africa, I was given a label of privilege. My birth certificate afforded me benefits and opportunities beyond that of a Black baby born at the exact same time in the “Blacks Only” hospital. Particularly troubling is statistics such as this: between the years of 1981 and 1983, the infant mortality rate of Black babies in South Africa was almost six times that of white babies.
The scars of Apartheid, like those of racism and injustice all over the world, did not disappear when the government changed. Even today in the United States, inequality persists in all facets of life. When a Black household earns only 61 cents on the dollar as compared to that of a white household, how are we supposed to imagine that our society can ever be equal, or even gives everyone a fair chance?
While my South African birth certificate lists my given race as white, I would prefer that we are all simply labeled as human, first and foremost. While human nature may be to categorize things in order to better understand them, too often we box and label people as “other.” Instead of labeling our differences, let us celebrate the birth of new life.
To accept each other’s humanity is also to accept the differences and the richness of each other’s histories and contributions to humankind.