On Display: Israel, Palestine, and the 21st Century Negro

Richard Marius’s exhibition Israel, Palestine and the 21st Century Negro has recently been the subject of critical discussion inside the exposed brick walls of La Pregunta. Since the beginning of the exhibition, many have expressed appreciation/opposition/curiousness towards his work. Regardless of the variety of opinions and criticisms his work has created, one thing is for sure: people are talking!

In an interview conducted by Winston, Richard gets verbose as he answers The Question:

Winston: What’s up with the 21st Century Negro and what is the connection to Israel/Palestine?

Richard: I was invited to a show last year, right after Obama won the election to celebrate black history month. When I submitted my paintings that were critical of Israel’s actions in Palestine, the black curator kicked me out of the show. So the 21st century Negro -the censorship of black radicals in the 21st century, tells you something about race and racism as a contemporary issue in the country. It points to how whiteness, blackness, colorism is still a crucial issue regardless of who is sitting in that white house. So the 21st century Negro is me and people like me, regardless of their race who disregard that censorship and continue to practice activism, radicalism, regardless of their race. They don’t let their race or ethnicity prevent them from speaking, because there are a lot of people of color who are afraid of speaking out against white supremacy and the situation it creates for people of color. I am treating Israel’s treatment of Palestine as similar to Europe’s treatment of the colonized people from Africa, Ireland, South America, and the North American “Indians” in their colonial and imperial process. I am here to say that I am Black, and I am going to talk about Israel, I am going to criticize Israel deeply, the same way I will criticize and denounce colonialism and imperialism regardless of what you think, regardless where you come from.


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