Race Through Contrast

Commenting on race, beyond mere blame

Asad Shaykh
Jan 10, 2019 · 3 min read

So, Beyonce and Jay-Z have helped set The Louvre set a new world record, all thanks to their last video.

The Paris landmark had 10.2 million visitors in 2018 – which is up 25 percent from the year before. It also breaks their previous record, of 9.7 million visitors in 2012, by half a million.

“No other museum in the world has ever equaled this figure,” the museum reported in a statement, before giving a nod to the Carters.

It’s a personal fascination to follow their rise to a position not many from their race have enjoyed. What’s more enjoyable is how they’re contrasting this place of wealth and privilege, and most of all, with clever commentary on history.

Of course they rented out the worlds largest museum to make this point.

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Enter The Louvre, with a different set of wings to welcome you. Kneeling to lean you in.

Their narrative is lavish. Dripping with artistic bling. Yet, something lurks, just under the skin. It’s the juxtaposition of white Impressionism with black expressionism.

This beautifully created contrast, both aesthetic and esoteric, demonstrates the sheer lack of coloured faces in the worlds largest art collection – making it look, almost bland.

The story takes a harder turn when icons of glory like the armless Venus with of suppressed movements of the under-privileged. The span of the Wings cut with the twisted limits of a social acceptance.

The narrative takes a much darker turn by showing coloured faces, only visible in the background, mostly in compromised physical or social positions.

Frankly, there is nothing radically new here.

It’s pure pop Pop-culture, serving a layer of visual confection laced with a biting social crunch. Only this time, it’s done in a beautifully contrasted way that does not point fingers.

It just expresses. Just like art should.

The beauty of this piece is how it discusses the historical unfairness towards colour without any shade of blame. It’s essential to understand is that racial inequality is not the fault of one, but perhaps of many who chose to forget the important. The not to be forgotten.

Having transcended across many cultures on journeys not too dissimilar, I can only echo what they sing.

“I can’t believe we made it.”

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The Louvre, marriage, history or the throne.

“I can’t believe we made it.”

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