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Dora's Dance
Beverly McIver

oil paint canvas

Currently on view at Mint Museum--UPTOWN

Museum Purchase: Funds provided by Jay Everette, Ronald Carter, Cheryl Palmer and Frank Tucker, Andy Dews and Tom Warshauer, Dee Dixon, Patty and Alex Funderburg, Michael J. Teaford and R.K. Benites, Sharon and Rob Harrington, June and Ken Lambla, Mike Davis, Judy and Patrick Diamond, Anonymous Donor in honor of Amber Smith, Anonymous Donor

In "Dora’s Dance," Beverly McIver uses highly personal symbolism to present a complex and multilayered subject. Growing up in Greensboro, N.C. during the 1960s, McIver’s upbringing was steeped in the Civil Rights Movement; its impact on the country, and the South in particular, left a lasting impression on her. Attending a predominately white high school, McIver felt extreme economic and racial disparity between herself and her classmates. During her teens, she joined a clown club at school, where she trained as a clown and painted herself in “whiteface.” Assuming this disguise, she felt a freedom in her identity and a mobility she lacked when not in costume. In the club, she was only allowed to be a whiteface clown, so when she later discovered she could paint herself “in blackface” it was a liberating gesture, one that affirmed, instead of hid, her African-American identity. The “Dora” character was inspired by an elderly woman McIver met at a Mississippi nursing home who had spent her life in the South working as a housemaid. Although Dora desperately wanted to leave the nursing home, she was never able to. Dora’s carefree sway and joyful expression represents the hope for a personal liberation similar to Beverly’s own liberation through her self-styled creativity. "Dora’s Dance" is thus an expression of affirmation and freedom.

Accession Number: 2013.52


height: 60 inches
width: 48 inches

Copyright Information:
NEPL Mint signed nonexclusive license with artist 2017

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