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Infectious Rhythm by Barbara Browning

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NINE

Penetrable Selves (“Paris Is Burning”)

 

 

 

 

Out on the sidewalk, under the bluish cast of the street lights, Angie Xtravaganza lifts up her blouse, exposing her medium-sized, soft and very natural-looking breasts. A man gleefully brags, “I bought her her tits—I paid for them!” Angie obligingly shakes these tits for her happy children, two grown moustachioed men, who then greedily suck them as Angie lifts her head nobly. “Our mother even nurses us,” says the child who bought the tits. “She's a good woman.”

Is this the GOOD MOTHER of my anonymous painting, the replication of an image of African womanhood already mass-produced in Nigeria, now so far-flung she seems a world away? Or is she rather the image of African “tradition” depicted ...

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