In the age of Obama, an art exhibit featuring depictions of people in blackface is bound to strike some as, well, inflammatory. But what if the paintings are by a man who identifies himself as black but society pegs as white? In 2005, biracial artist Michael Dixon created quite a stir at the University of Colorado in Boulder when he lashed his Sambo portraits to a chain-link fence, extolling the towns whiteness. Ha! Imagine the carpoolers spitting out their coffee.
Now an assistant professor at Michigans Albion College, Dixon presents his latest metaphorical works in the new Sambo Scratches His Navel and Watches His Crazy Sister exhibit at West Valley Art Museum. Dixon re-created dancer Onye Ozuzus performance homage to the Afro-Caribbean deity Ellegua with aggressive body images in black, red, and white. True to his mission, he gave the pieces crude titles as reminders of societys history.