Lecture: The Implications of Blackness in Birth of a Nation
D.W. Griffith’s 1915 film, Birth of a Nation, glorified and revived the Ku Klux Klan in America. In contrast, Justyne Fischer’s woodcut examines the legacy of deep-rooted racism within American systems and institutions. Fischer’s Birth of a Nation renders the Klansmen as mountains, grand and carved into the American landscape. They are not hidden in the shadows or part of a long-forgotten practice—they are ingrained, established, and immovable. Join Fischer as she discusses the deliberate compositional choices she made to depict the dark side of American history and how it shaped us as a nation.
Justyne Fischer is a Washington, DC based Social Justice Printmaker. Originally from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Justyne graduated with a BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and an MFA from Cranbrook Academy of Art. Justyne’s “Social Memorials” feature unjust events involving unarmed Black men, women and boys. The Charlottesville 9, Terence Crutcher, Sandra Bland, Laquan McDonald, Walter Scott, Freddy Gray, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, William Wingate, Jordan Davis, and Trayvon Martin are all featured in these graphic social statements. Her works highlight the tragedy of each event while respectfully memorializing the human being beyond a one-day headline. Fischer’s work has been featured in The San Francisco Examiner, The Washington Post, East City Art Magazine, Artscope Magazine, Wall Street International Magazine, The Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education and the new book, Not Normal: Art in the Age of Trump. You can find Fischer’s woodcuts in the permanent collection of the Boston Athenæum, the Boston Public Library, John Lewis High School and Montgomery College.