Bermudian’s role in fight against racism
A message of love and understanding in Bermudian April Branco’s painting Resting Place has won international recognition after it became a symbol for anti-white supremacist protesters Virginia last weekend.
Her image was used by Mark Martin to represent Adam and Eve on a placard he carried during the demonstration last Saturday in Charlottesville against neo-Nazis who had congregated in the city.
The painting, showing black couple in an intimate embrace, was printed on a sign with the caption “Genesis 2:19: God created humanity in God’s own image, in the divine image God created them, male and female God created them” and a title card describing them as Adam and Eve.
Ms Branco, from St George’s, said: “He asked to purchase a print and I offered a licensing fee instead. But after hearing the reason for the rally I decided it would be an honour to be involved and gave it free of charge.”
The protest made headlines worldwide after a Nazi sympathiser drove his car into a group of anti-Fascist protesters, killing a woman and injuring 20 others.
Ms Branco said she was “horrified” by the attack — but praised the thousands who took to the streets to protest against white supremacy.
She added: “That a white man can see God in this painting and was willing to sit in the streets for love and unity tells me that there is hope and we are not as doomed as they would have us think we are.”
Ms Branco created the painting in 2010 when she realised that many images depicted black couples in a sexualised way and failed to show “the tender sides of black love”.
She added: “There always seem to be black greasy bodies with dreads in erotic positions everywhere.
“I believe that there is more to the young black couple than physicality and that intimacy, gentleness and spiritual connection can feature predominantly in a young, black relationship.”
Ms Branco said that art was an ideal medium to show emotions and that Resting Place pointed the way towards personal healing and social change.
She added: “When we’re children we learn through images and visuals, then as we get older we become more verbal and intellectual with words.
But Ms Branco said: “I feel there is a primal part of us that still gravitates to images for representation of our thoughts and feelings.”
Ms Branco told The Royal Gazette that Mr Martin was safe following the vicious attack on counter-protesters last Saturday, though she does not know how the area is handling it.
Ms Branco’s work, which includes, prints, commissions and original paintings, can be found at www.aprilbranco.com.