Work of Art: Reminiscing
Beverly McIver
born 1962
Left and right panels: 24 x 30 in. (61.0 x 76.2 cm); center panel: 24 x 24 in. (61.0 x 61.0 cm)
Purchased with funds from the William R. Roberson Jr. and Frances M. Roberson Endowed Fund for North Carolina Art, 2005
© Beverly McIver

Beverly McIver confronts the African American racial stereotype head on in an ongoing series of expressionist self-portraits. The series deals with her role in a society that has historically subjugated minorities and women. In most of her self-portraits, McIver paints herself in blackface and in costume, partly a reference to an earlier desire to be a professional clown when she was a teenager. (As a teen she took the conventional whiteface clown mask and changed it to blackface.) This self-portrait was painted at a time when McIver was striving to come to terms with her mother's death. Without emphasizing it, the artist has again painted herself in blackface, for she is rarely out of character, even at times of personal mourning.

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