1001 Black Men–#395

Fountain Garden Restaurant, MacArthur Blvd, Oakland.

I love faces with features that refuse to be ignored. I begin all of my drawings with the nose and then work down to the lips. The eyes, hair and other features come last. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the features I enjoy drawing most are among those for which Black people have been made to feel the most ashamed. The goal and even the duty of the artist is to step away from what we are told to see in (and believe about) our subjects and to draw what is truly there. And it is in Black people’s facial features–the features in which our African ancestry is most apparent–that I see the greatest expression and power and meaning.

Ajuan Mance

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