Pride and Prejudice by Nicole Davis

Pride and Prejudice by Nicole Davis


  • March 5, 2020 - March 29, 2020
  • CSPS Hall
  • FREE ADMISSION

The photographs in the series Pride and Prejudice are rooted in issues of identity, representation, and self-determination. Much of the work that I do involves layers, both aesthetically and figuratively. For this series, I used family photos and sourced a variety of ephemera to create layered collages and assemblages to then photograph. Two influences spurred me to create these images. The first was the 2016 presidential election cycle. The feral and frenzied quality of the election and the slogan “Make America Great Again” repeatedly brought a particular image to my mind from a time that was not “great” for people of color. It is the image of two lynched black men hanging above a crowd of white spectators who are there bearing witness to the event. What strikes me most about this image that was used for souvenir postcards is the apparent normalcy of the scene given the event that had just taken place.
The other influence that fueled the creation of this series was the discovery of an old ledger at an antique market. The ledger, belonging to an anonymous comedian, contained a repertoire of racist and sexist jokes and anecdotes used for his performances. I wasn’t sure when I bought the ledger what I was going to do with it, but I knew I wanted to have a “conversation” with its anonymous author. For me these influences are separate but very connected entities that bridge the present and the past. The tone of the 2016 election and the antique ledger both attempt to control the identity and status of the “other”. They seek to normalize hatred of the other through erroneous representation and a disregard for the value of human life. These representations are in direct opposition to how I, as a person of color, define my identity and my existence in the world. This photographic series is a way for me to push back and voice my opposition erroneous representations of the other and the normalization of hatred. It also served as a time commune with my ancestors and honor their strength, sacrifice, and perseverance.

Nicole Davis is an artist currently living in Iowa City. She received an MA degree in Studio Art
from the University of Iowa in 2019 and is currently working toward an MFA degree in Studio
Art.