Half-breed Gordon Bentfoot
Homeless Gordon Bentfoot hears taunts from his childhood. “Gordon Bentfoot is a dirty half-breed.” The privileged children had learned the pecking order early, and the half-breed claimed last place. His mother was a Nanticoke, a people not recognized by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Without tribal organization or a reservation, they are unofficial Indians – but still shunned as such. The father was brown. Nothing else is known. Half-breed Gordon misses his abstract father. “No wonder I’m nuthin’,” he has said. “I ain’t got nuthin’ to measure up to.”
Privilège du Blanc
The Queen of Spain appears before the Pope wearing a white Chanel gown with elegant pearl beading at the bodice. Stunning. But the Queen is one of only three women in the world allowed to wear white when in an audience with His Holiness. She holds Privilège du Blanc, a right proffered only to Catholic Monarchs. All other females appearing with the Pope, be they commoner or noble women, are asked to wear a long sleeved formal black garment and a black mantilla covering the head and hair. But here, at the intersection of monarchy and Catholicism, fashion flourishes. Chanel and salon hair are God-given rights of the privileged.
Blue – she speaks English and knows the rules. The OTHERS were dragged ashore, washed of the journey’s stink, then rubbed with tar to shine their skin for this “Grab and Go” auction. These slaves have had their mouths and bodies examined for hours, and then with the clang of a copper bell the buyers rush to claim their goods. Two argue over Blue, but she is quiet, praying to her mother’s God, her only respite.
Note on the Collaboration from Anthony Dortch
The Privileged Series features multi-media works divided into two components, The Commoners and The Privileged, which explore the socio-economic stratification of contemporary American society. “The Commoners” comprises illustrations and sculpture incorporating photography and ink in bold colors influenced by comic book design. The Privileged Series: Among the Commoners focuses on “a panoply of experiences we’d rather not have, in pictures we’d rather not see.”
By coincidence some of Jackson’s writings ran parallel to The Privileged Series. Working with Jackson pushed me outside of my boundaries. I read over several short stories, picked my favorites and then created specific artwork inspired by his words. Finally, I pushed it further by merging the short stories into the artwork.