“For all our sakes, I hope Deborah Roberts continues to stake a claim, through her work, for a more expansive view of Black children.” —Dawoud Bey
You are invited to join the internationally renowned artist (and Austinite) Deborah Roberts for a Booksigning + Artist talk for her new book Deborah Roberts: 20 Years of Art/Work on Friday, Dec 2 at 4 PM at the Carver Museum.
By using images from American history, Black culture, pop culture, and Black history, Roberts takes on a powerful social commentary, critiquing perceptions of ideal beauty, and challenging stereotypes and myths. Her process combines found and manipulated images with hand drawn and painted details to create hybrid figures. These figures often take the form of young girls and increasingly Black boys, whose wellbeing and futures are equally threatened because of the double standard of boyhood and criminality that is projected on them at such a young age. While subject to societal pressures and projected images, the boys and girls who populate her work are still unfixed in their identity. Each child has character and agency to find their way amidst the complicated narratives of American, African American, and art history.
Her book provides a definitive look at the artist’s practice over the past two decades. With newly commissioned texts and a thorough dive into Roberts’ archive, this monograph offers a comprehensive view of one of today’s most significant artists and social observers. An extensive plate section is accompanied by a personal, heartfelt foreword from Dawoud Bey on “the tragic mischaracterization of Black children”; an insightful essay from Ekow Eshun on the social and political histories of innocence, race, and the fractured nature of the contemporary Black experience; a celebratory tribute from Carolyn Jean Martin on the musicality, humility, and generosity of Roberts’ practice; and a free-ranging conversation between Roberts and Sarah Elizabeth Lewis.