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13th
Mixed Media

2018
28 x 48 in. (71.12 x 121.92 cm)

Epaul Julien (New Orleans, LA, 1972 - ) Artist

Object Type: Mixed Media
Medium and Support: mixed media photo collage, encaustic wax, acrylic, gesso and resin on wood
Credit Line: Gift of the artist
Accession Number: 2019.6.1

Artist Statement
Statement by Epaul Julien, on his artistic response to Dolita Wilhike’s experience:

In 1865 when the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, slavery was abolished; however, forced labor has remained legal under the circumstances of punishment for crimes. This artwork takes on the American flag as a compositional framework, and it brings a new interpretation to the stripes it bears by drawing visual associations to prison bars, chain gangs, and systems of confinement that have been in use since the middle passage and colonial era. 

Historic imagery sourced from the Internet captures the movement of imprisoned bodies across the Americas, and serves as a background for Dolita Wilhike’s portrait, in which she doubles as the political activist and scholar Angela Davis. “13th” attempts to express the raw determination, intelligence and strength of all women struggling for equality and freedom on American soil - particularly the generations of families who are suffering economically in Louisiana, seemingly with no end in sight. The linear brushwork suggests a compressed passage of time that functions as a loop.


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