Monday, September 18, 2006

Dirrrty Harriet Tubman opens in St. Louis September 15th.

Michael Paul Britto's Project Series Dirrrty Harriet Tubman organized by our Chief Curator, Shannon Fitzgerald, is slated to open this September. The first work is a funny and irreverent action-movie trailer entitled Dirrrty Harriet Tubman. It presents a unique re-imaging of freedom fighter Harriet Tubman as a blaxploitation super heroine. The second work, I'm A Slave 4 U, presents a Britney Spears music video completely recast with black actors wearing 19th century slave costumes. Britto choreographed his dancers to a sequence based on common slave practices like chores and picking cotton.

Shannon has decided to incorporate a laudable compliment to Britto's work; there will be a continuous screening of Isaac Julien's documentary BaadAsssss Cinema: A Bold Look at 70's Blaxploitation Films in Teaching Gallery One (the neighboring gallery to the SBC New Media Gallery where Britto's work will be projected).

The pieces by Britto and Julien included in the exhibit do function independently. However, I feel Britto's Project Series is fantastically supported by Julien's documentary. Watching Dirrrty Harriet Tubman after viewing BaadAsssss Cinema benefits the overall experience you will have of Britto's Project Series. The documentary fills viewers in on the powerful significance of the blaxploitation genre, probing into the direct influence it had on our economy, movie culture, and the creation of black stereotypes. Julien's documentary is a highly enjoyable educational experience that provides crucial insight to understanding the multi-layered work created by Britto. It brings to light Britto's illumination and critique of the mass media's perpetuation of racial and gender stereotypes. So, I'd recommend allotting enough time in your schedule to experience Dirrrty Harriet Tubman and BaadAsssss Cinema (56 minutes) together. Also, if you are still thirsting for more information on the concepts represented in both works, we are currently preparing a reading table with pertinent journals and books focusing on these topics. If you want to look into another great project by Britto, check out his documentary on the history of the handshake


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