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Julia Bottoms

David Smith

Jun 25, 2022

Expressing Black Beauty and Ending the Stereotypes

Julia Bottoms is an impressive woman who seeks to end the stereotypes placed upon black men and the culture surrounding it. She explains that prior to the present, her - a black woman, would not be visible or included in societal discussions. However, in today's age, her voice is listened to and taken for the full value it has to offer. Here is a snippet from her artist statement which explains the mission that she seeks to convey.

The resulting emotional charge to my work is not necessarily a conscious effort, but rather a natural expression of the things I internalize on a day to day basis. My most recent body of work emerged in response to the events ranging specifically from February 2012 to current. I remember very distinctly hearing about the Trayvon Martin case on social media first. My initial response was complete and total dismissal. The brutality of the occurrence led me to believe it was simply a Facebook hoax. As more and more coverage emerged something shifted in my perception. I’d always known (primarily from firsthand experience) how callous the majority culture can be towards those of us who exist beyond its preferred outline. But the slaughter of a black child seemed so distant; a chapter I’d been naïve enough to assume had closed with the exposure of the Emmett Till case. In 2012 I watched our media skew facts and promote stereotypes. I watched the calculated and systematic justification of the death of an unarmed child. Since that occurrence and the nearly unbelievable continuation of others like it, I have remained stunned. I have remained upset. I have lived with the inescapable weight of the reality that people are still dying because of the color of their skin.

Titled "Her Wisdom," my assumptions conclude this is a self portrait. Whether this is a self portrait or not, I see a woman who is empowered and appreciated. The toga speaks of Greek philosophers, which would make sense since one of Julia's goals is to demonstrate the knowledge and fortitude of the Black woman.

Untitled except for explaining that this mural portrait is on East Delavan by the public library. Black women and men come from all over the world and of different faiths. Whether this woman is Christian or Muslim, her faith does not matter. She is a human being, a black woman of strength and wisdom, and someone who can guide the world into a place of equality.

Titled "King Peterson," this is a portrait, on the Freedom Wall, of a man who served Buffalo faithfully and (what I understand when researching him) the best man for the job in every position he held. Peterson was born in Georgia, but spent his whole adult life in Buffalo. By pro tem, he held the position of mayor for ten days in 1956, the first black man to be mayor of Buffalo. While mayor he created a holiday to honor to honorable men from the negro league team in Buffalo, still a holiday today. Julia has captured his likeness, his kindness, and the strength which he embodied.

Titled Arthur O. Eve, this portrait, also on the Freedom Wall, embodied the power of a man who fought for equal rights of all minorities in New York. He was institutional with educational, work, and housing reforms for minorities. A lifelong delegate for the New York State Assembly, he was able to create a paradigm shift in the structure of New York government. On the forefront in over 750 bills, he was institutional to create a New York that treated minorities as equal.

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