Race row over art of black death

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The white artist Ti-Rock Moore’s sculptural replica of the dead body of Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager who was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, last year, offended many visitors to Moore’s exhibition, Confronting Truths: Wake Up! at Chicago’s Gallery Guichard this summer (closed 20 August). A “working definition of white privilege is white artists’ belief that they can claim artistic ownership of black death, while disowning their white guilt and being applauded for their ‘courageousness’,” wrote Kirsten West Savali on The Root website. But Moore says she intended to challenge white apathy towards violence against African-Americans: “I understand that I am in a delicate position to push forward these truths. But I chose not to remain stunted by the debilitating fear and discretion and silence that many white Americans lean on to avoid the truth.” Moore says that Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, visited the exhibition but asked for the mannequin of her son to be concealed.

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