Tonia Hughes

"Homogenized: Dawn in White #1"; Permanent pigment inkjet print; 16 x 20 inches

“Homogenized: Dawn in White #1”; Permanent pigment inkjet print; 16 x 20 inches

"Homogenized: Dawn in White #2"; Permanent pigment inkjet print; 16 x 20 inches

“Homogenized: Dawn in White #2”; Permanent pigment inkjet print; 16 x 20 inches

"Homogenized: Dawn in White #3"; Permanent pigment inkjet print; 16 x 20 inches

“Homogenized: Dawn in White #3”; Permanent pigment inkjet print; 16 x 20 inches

Homogenized – 1. a: to blend into a uniform mixture. b. to make homogeneous. c. make uniform or similar. 2. a: to reduce to small particles of uniform size and distribute evenly usually in a liquid. b: to reduce the particles of so that they are uniformly small and evenly distributed. c: subject to a process in which the fat droplets are emulsified and the cream does not separate. (i.word.com)

Society does not see whiteness, nor do they see heterosexuality, able-bodies, privileged class, maleness, or patriarchal power. Society sees “Other” bodies that do not neatly fit into the categories it has established as the “norm.” Further, the whiteness we are “Othered” by functions to police, punish, and control our bodies thus creating groups of oppressed peoples, many differing groups of oppressed peoples ranging from various races, ethnicities, body types and sizes, sexualities, genders, classes, ages, and (dis)abilities.

I set out to visually express oppression caused by this whiteness by covering, visually smothering, those categorically deemed outside of white norms with visible and literal whiteness in the form of milky, white paint. My intent has been to find as much diversity as possible to smother in whiteness as photographic subjects, using their portraits to demonstrate the uniqueness of each person being, both covered in whiteness and, homogenized as a singular group of “Others” with the uniqueness of each person also being erased by oppression. In this manner, the photographs are intended to express the way in which whiteness is oppressing the individual and also how whiteness causes the added oppression of denying each person validation of individual identity and experience. The individuals disappear under white paint, under white oppression.