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Violet Colored Girl from the Colored People Series

Carrie Mae Weems

(Portland, Oregon, 1953 - )

1990

Three toned gelatin silver prints and vinyl letters

17 in. x 49 5/8 in. x 1 1/2 in. (43.18 cm x 126.05 cm x 3.81 cm)

Knight Purchase Fund for Photographic Media

1996.3

More Information

In this series, Weems examines prejudice in white society and African-American communities. “Colored” is one of the negative terms white people have used to belittle blacks while refusing to recognize them as individuals; “golden yella,” “red bone,” and “violet” are terms African-Americans have used to describe other blacks. By “coloring” the photographs of her young subjects with brightly hued tones, Weems emphasizes how inadequately “black” describes a multi-colored and diverse race. At the same time, she addresses the situation in African-American society where light-skinned blacks are often perceived as receiving preferential treatment over those with darker, or more “African” skin.

Keywords
African American
American
Gelatin Silver
Girl
Photography
Portrait
Text in art