Mantegna’s Manufacturing of the Maidservant: Examining Isabella d’Este’s Collection of Black Subjects / University of Victoria, 2023.

The paper focuses on five iterations of Judith and Holofernes completed by Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) for Isabella d'Este (1474-1539). The maidservant reflects a racial shift in representation, marking a novel change in the religious theme. The project examines how the change to a Black African woman presented an opportunity for Isabella d'Este to be further elevated socially. The research reflects upon court culture, vice and virtue, gender and sexuality, race and representation, and cross-cultural dialogue.

This project was completed as a component for the Master of Arts degree and was generously funded by the University of Victoria Faculty of Graduate Studies, the Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Visual Arts, in addition to the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Related presentations:

Breaking Borders, Barriers, and Biases: New Visions in Global Art History / Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria. Panelist: Analyses of Alienation: Examining Isabella d’Este’s Collection of Black Subjects. 2021.

Fibrous, Feminine Fates of Fertility: Exhibition of Textile Arts by Southeast Asian Women / University of Victoria, 2023.

The presentation and exhibition catalogue examines the many ways in which fertility can be understood: traditional iconography tied to prosperity and protection (of land, of culture, of people), the biological reproductive process, and maintaining connections across generations. The project includes historical objects related to fertility from Borneo, Indonesia and Laos. The exhibition focuses on works from the following contemporary Southeast Asian artists: Pacita Abad, Imelda Cajipe-Endaya, Aze Ong, Irene Bawer Bimuyag, and Berny Tan. Artists from outside of Southeast Asia are considered in conversation, such as Kimsooja (South Korean).

Inventions and Inversions: Examining Othering with Isabella d’Este’s Collection via Vice and Virtue / University of Victoria, 2022.

The project examines the ways in which constructions of vice and virtue have been used to Other individuals. "Minerva Expelling the Vices from the Garden of Virtue" by Andrea Mantegna for Isabella d'Este was employed as the case study for this project. The visual rhetoric is examined to determine the ideal and Othered, considering how race and gender have been depicted as part of that process. The use of pagan imagery in Christian contexts is considered as this was a tactic in constructing Christian cultural identity. The project also examines how vice and virtue as a theme plays a role in Isabella d'Este's collection.

Fabricated Fabrics: Evaluating the Presence of Textiles in Jean-Léon Gérôme’s Bashi-Bazouk / University of Victoria, 2022.

The study analyzes the way in which the French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904) contributed to Orientalism in the nineteenth century through his depictions of the East. The objective was to understand how his works reflected Europe's reception of 'Oriental' culture, incorporating elements of truth and in addition to fabrications. The work "Bashi-Bazouk" was the case study, examining the headdress depicted, textile production of Egypt, and the designs of bashi bazouk and zeibek military uniforms.

Evaluating Fiveness: Understanding Black Women’s Experience of Consciousness / University of Toronto, 2019. 

The paper contests the idea of singular consciousness, or double consciousness as proposed by DuBois. Rather, consciousness should be expanded to reflect the ontological plurality of existence, incorporating how individuals exist within the contexts of sex, class, and race. The paper also argues that material from cultural critics and artists should be understood as having philosophical value, namely Carrie Mae Weems, Toni Morrison, and bell hooks.

Seeing Potential: Asking/Investigating/Exhibiting the Malcove Collection / Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, and University of Toronto Art Museum, 2019.

This project was completed as part of the Scholars-in-Residence program hosted by the Jackman Humanities Institute. The goal was to expand the research of objects within the Malcove Collection at the University of Toronto Art Museum. The objects of focus for the project were two Christian metalworks. The research process included conducting stylistic analyses examining the depictions of the figures across various museum databases to determine a more accurate date for the objects. The theories were then examined with metal-working processes to refine the date further. X-ray fluorescence was then employed to examine the elemental content of the works. The data was then examined alongside objects that were created in the proposed time, corroborating the period of production theory.

Related presentations:

The Used, The Displayed, The Experienced / Material Culture Studies Undergraduate Conference, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON. Invited Panelist: Analyzing and Embracing the Pietà: A Case Study from within the Malcove Collection. 2020.

Scholar-in-Residence Research Colloquium / Jackman Humanities Institute, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON. Panelist: Seeing Potential: Activating/Investigating/Exhibiting the Malcove Collection. 2019.

Sensitive Recollections: A Study of Women in Renaissance Italy / University of Toronto, 2018.

The study examined the role of women in early modern Italy, focusing on their activities as patrons, sitters, and artists. The project analyzes the status of women, varying opportunities and capacities dependent on class, and collecting culture. The women researched as case studies include: Oradea Becchetti of Fabriano, Abbess Piera de Medici, Isabella d'Este, Sofonisba Anguissola, and Lavinia Fontana.

World in Motion: An Exploration of the Third Space in Black American Art / University of Toronto, 2018.

The paper employs Homi K. Bhabha's Third Space and applies it to Black American art, studying how the colonizer (Western institutions) and colonized interact. The goal of this project was to understand how contemporary art is affected by the Third Space and how those effects are demonstrated in visual culture (particularly identity, community, and language). The artists examined as case studies are Glenn Ligon, Carrie Mae Weems, Kara Walker, and Kehinde Wiley.

A Study of Women in Early Modern Europe: Establishing the Binary of ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ / University of Toronto, 2018. 

The project examines the ways in which women have been depicted in early modern Europe, considering how the visual material served a pedagogical purpose. The objective was to examine how the binary of 'good; and 'bad' women functioned in the Christian context to moderate behaviour. The research examined prescriptive literature, ideals related to womanhood, and notions about women. The visual material included portraiture, manuscripts, and mythological paintings.

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