Andrea Reed- “Sweet Struggle”…. A new artist emerges

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© Andrea Reed 2007
From the series entitled “Sweet Struggle”

Rare is the discovery of a new artist with a passion.conviction, and purpose. And the images belie it all here in the Sweet Struggle series by Andrea Reed.

With no more than 2 semesters to go before graduation at Howard University with a degree in Psychology, Andrea came upon the realization that photography was the medium that she wanted to use to discuss the misrepresentation of the black identity in the US. She switched the whole thing up and attended Academy of Art Photography School in SF.

By going back to the historical reference of blackface, she explores the dichotomy of reality vs. perception and persecution. Clearly she is exploring this on her own terms, in her own life, using those around her as subjects. What has been foisted upon people as desire/hope, that must be excised to maintain identity?

With the diptych, Ms.Reed has been able to showcase the disturbing element in it’s own frame while maintaining a connection with the subject as a whole.

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© Andrea Reed 2007

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© Andrea Reed 2007

Her influences are James Baldwin and Richard Avedon, who unbeknownst to her, had collaborated in 1962 on the book “Nothing Personal”.

Great instincts from this thoughtful, new star.

One image in particular is eerie and sweet at the same time:

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© Andrea Reed 2007

Is the woman, assuming it is his mom, looking up for an answer? Her son, comfortably draped over her shoulder, is at once protective and loving, yet simultaneously foreboding with his gun in hand at the ready. Perhaps she is a bit scared. Not for herself but of a future that a gun always holds.

In her own words
” The Sweet Vs. The Struggle
In many ways this has been a bitter sweet emotional process for me. The main reason for this paradox is because of the negative implications this project suggests about the condition of the African-American community. It’s upsetting for people to digest that someone from their own community could air our “dirty laundry” in such an unforgiving and abrasive way.”

She has published a softcover volume of this work in progress. You can contact her to try to get a copy.
We recommend you visit the site and walk around a bit.

Andrea has a strong purpose here, and that is clear. The images are so arresting though, the viewer can write any number of stories upon viewing.

That is the mark of a powerful piece of art.

DW

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