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Will Gibson

What role should race play in art?

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Today in the forum discussion at Black Arts In America, artist Joseph Osbome, who works in a abstract, metaphonic, symbolic style of drawing and painting, asks this question: Does black art have to be a literal statement or is being a black person enough? As a fiction writer who sees himself as an artist, I thought it was a good question. Here is my answer to Osbome’s question:


“We have this same challenge in fiction writing, especially novel writing. In my opinion, if we are speaking solely about “art,” even a piece of abstract art, it becomes a quality question. If we succeed in our work and it becomes art, then the question doesn’t matter. Then the reader or viewer will see unique and wonderful things on paper (writing) or on canvas (painting) that even the artist didn’t realize were there. That’s the beauty of art. But if it is marketing you’re talking about, then that’s a totally different matter.”


Will Gibson, Novelist


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