In the game of golf up until the late 1960s there was a written rule called the Caucasian Only Rule, in the US. The rule was the basis for discrimination against any professional golfer who was Black from playing in golf tournaments which were sanctioned by the Professional Golfers’ Association of America (PGA).
I use the statement above to ask the question relative to the visual arts. The visual arts have been with us since the dawn of time — I fast forward to my years of existence — I have never heard of visual arts demonstrated by Blacks being extolled, positively critiqued, lavishly purchased, or even considered by the famous art critics and auction houses.
I have often heard of the likes of Rembrandt, Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh, and Warhol. The works of these great artists are regularly spoken of in the context of being the best, fabulous, wonderful, intricate, provocative, and inspiring, etc.; these works frequently sell for millions and hundreds of millions of dollars.
Growing up in Jamaica, as a young man I grew to appreciate the visual arts (painting, drawing, ceramics & pottery, sculpture, craft, photography) for many intrinsic reasons. I saw the works of men and women whom I thought were great; however, these men and women were never really recognized for their works as much as they should have been. Why?
I guess that you might have had similar experiences.
When we teach our children and others about life will they be able to name or recognize any work of art that was not done by a Caucasian person?
The visual arts is another window of our existence, let us not close that window. Let’s celebrate and appreciate the visual arts of all. The celebration will teach us more about the great society in which we exist and inform and intrigue others for centuries to come.
Let’s abolish the Caucasian Only Rule!
Tell us about a visual artist who you know. He or She may be great also, and remember, the visual arts are color blind.
By: Karl A. Haughton