Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Sculptural installation, with black painted A frame, gloss black painted christ figure and gold painted christ figure.
Christ figures: Jesmonite, wigs, gold watches, gloss paint, spray paint. A frame: OSB board, matt paint.
Size 1.70m x 1.70m
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People - detail - Work in progress 2020

Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People 

 

Gold Christ for Gold People & Black Christ for Black People; forms part of a wider narrative for Forbes’ practice, with contemporary racial politics and migration being the crux of the work. The impact of poverty and historical teachings of religion also inform the conversation of how the work develops.

The ongoing issues of poverty and conflict in Africa have contributed to the increase of mass migration to other parts of the world, particularly Europe. Unfortunately, the option to get to Europe has caused an unprecedented number of deaths crossing the Mediterranean over the last 30 years, which is reflected in the sculptural and animation work An Eldorado of 512.6 million.

Black visibility and invisibility also inform the work – with many black people talking about their concerns of the psychological invisibility they experience within society and in the workplace, and how it impacts their lives and careers.

The black gloss painted Christ suspended over the black matt painted A frame plays with the ideas of black visibility and invisibility, the notion of being and not being, within the context of presence and absence: meaning, one can be present, but invisible. On the opposite side of the A frame the gold Christ presents the stark contrast to the black Christ, which offers up the obvious metaphor of racial difference, but the work asks the viewer to go deeper. Religion (in particular Christian and Judaic forms of religion) have played a significant role in demonising Black and everything associated with it including people as evil, bad and linked to the devil. And by, contrast religion has played a significant role in proselytising the virtues of White and linking it to innocence, good and pure, again including people. The work looks at how this doctrine has persisted over the centuries and used for the exploitation of white supremacy ideology ever since.

The inverted suspended Christ figure, with the wig on the face, acts as a form of resistance to the doctrine of white supremacy and contemporary religious values.

Forbes is intrigued by traditional African masquerade, particularly the adornment, dance and the concealment of the performers face. Within the work Forbes explore the concealment of the Christ figures face with the wigs, thereby denying Christ and the image of whiteness.

There is also the dichotomy of the wigs becoming a symbol of whiteness, or the aspiration to consume or align oneself with whiteness, thereby the long straight hair has become a trophy to acquire through whatever means. The brightly coloured wigs are referred to as party wigs, which can be seen on one level as light and fun, but on another level, they carry connotations of dis-ease with one’s appearance, and heritage. There are vested interests in keeping the wig business alive and well, as large sectors of the Asian community, which provide the hair also generate large profits from the marketing and selling of the products.

 

The work also explores the role of China in Africa, as ‘new colonisers’, with its’ Belt and Road policy of financing and building infrastructure in developing nations; with China’s interest at the heart of everything it does. There seems a dichotomy between the mass migration from parts of Africa, which is contradicted by China’s presence of seeing geopolitical opportunities through the whole continent. This concept is explored further using handbags in the work, which are acquired from African migrants on the streets of Europe, which are in turn purchased from Chinese wholesalers, having been manufactured and shipped from China.

Further research into the counterfeit bags and designer goods led Forbes to the photographic work Shop… selling the ontology of whiteness, which in turn led him to the A frame for the sculptural work. The A frame; a device for supporting glass, when shop windows are being replaced, acts as a metaphor for a life raft, which supports the suspended Christ figures, or the bloated black drowned body.

 

This work will be developed with a range of new and re purposed structures including steel poles, rope and safety hooks.

 

There is a lot of circularity in Forbes’ work, with different bodies of work influencing other work in parallel or later down the line.

 

The following points are also part of the thinking that influence the work:

Migration

  • Modern slavery – Arab/North African enslavers

  • Mediterranean, drowning, life jackets, bloated black bodies

  •  Europe’s role in keeping Africa poor – France

  • Death and exploitation enroutè, including rape

  •  Europe protecting borders such as, Hungry, Italy, Spain & UK

  • The rise of the far right in general and national governments

  • Europe’s responsibility to it’s ex-colonies

 

Africa’s responsibilities and failures

  • Corruption

  • Bad governance / government

  • Tribal wars

  • Squandered wealth from natural resources – purchasing arms and military equipment

  • Poverty

Black Christ for Black People - Work in progress 2020
Sculptural installation, with black painted medical trolley, gloss black painted christ figure, tow rope and book.
Christ figures: Jesmonite, wigs, gold watches, gloss paint, spray paint.
Size 1.70m x 1.10m
The Process  2019 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Testing frame structure and wigs 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Gold painting in progress 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Gold painting in progress 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Gold painting in progress 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Gold painting in progress ​including rope noose 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Testing frame structure and wigs 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Testing frame structure detail, noose and wigs 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Testing frame structure with unpainted Christ figure and wigs 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Raw OSB board, Christ figure and frame structure 
Black Christ for Black People Gold Christ for Gold People  - Work in progress 2019
Raw OSB board, Christ figure, frame structure and books 
Christ Torso  2019 
Jesmonite Christ figure 
Christ cast in jacket - Work in progress 2019
Christ cast in silicone mould 2019
Christ cast in silicone mould 2019
Christ cast Jesmonite 2019
Christ cast Jesmonite 2019
Christ cast Jesmonite 2019
Christ cast Jesmonite 2019
Christ cast Jesmonite and silicone mould  2019
Christ cast Jesmonite 2019
Christ cast in Jesmonite jacket  2019
Christ cast in Jesmonite jacket  2019
Christ cast in Jesmonite jacket  2019
Silicone mould in Jesmonite jacket  2019
Silicone mould in Jesmonite jacket  2019
Silicone mould in Jesmonite jacket  2019
Silicone mould in Jesmonite jacket  2019
Foam model covered in silicone  2019
Foam model covered in silicone  2019
Foam model covered in silicone  2019
Foam model testing out wig  2019
Foam model testing out wig  2019
Foam model testing out wig  2019
CNC machine milling foam model  2019
CNC machine milling foam model  2019
CNC machine milling foam model  2019
Artist sketch  2019
First artist sketch  2019
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Images & Text © 2021 Michael Forbes - All rights reserved.