Today I traveled to STUN Studios in Hulme to meet Darren Pritchard the House of Ghetto's house mother and House of Ghetto (HOG) dancer Lenai who will be dancing with my hemp burlesque fans for my Hidden Pin Up project. I was so excited!
It was great to chat about the project and see how the fans looked in hold which also gave me a chance to see how they handled. The fans are unfinished as yet because I still plan on embroidering words and phrases into the feathers which will be inspired by true stories of black fetishisation.
While at the studio I got my first story from Darren as he recounted how Lenai's sister had been dating a guy who told her 'You can be my mocha'. Not only is this totally cringe worthy it's also a perfect example how black women can still being treated as 'exotics' and further highlights how the stereotypes given to the black Pin Up from the vintage era have survived today.
We also discussed costume ideas and I took some measurements of Lenai for the outfit I am currently putting together. My designs are based on examples that are blatantly not authentic but a western amalgamation of 'black/savage looks' used in mainstream films and pop culture.
I want to keep the look vintage Pin Up but also have that unsophisticated inauthentic theme. Everything will be made from hemp to complete the raw primitive aesthetic behind the fans. I am loving how the hemp can be sculpted, frayed and cut to create different shapes and also the various connotations it brings up about black stereotypes and black history.
It was really great to move this project onto it's next phase and I am loving every minute of it. I'm hoping to share some of the stories I collect in my upcoming posts and also how the outfit and fans progress. Until then get in touch with your own stories of black female fetishisation and stereotyping. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with the title The Hidden Pin Up or find me on Facebook Gemma Parker Artist
I am a fine artist investigating and celebrating theatrics, artifice and showmanship. This is my online sketchbook covering my projects, inspirations and interests. I hope you enjoy it!