Am I What You're Looking For?
and Can I Touch It
Exhibit opening and talk
“Am I What You’re Looking For?” focuses on the experiences and fears of young women of color who are transitioning from the academic to the corporate world, capturing their struggles and uncertainties on how to best present themselves in the professional workspace. As the young women pose in front of an office backdrop, they recall how employers would tell them that their natural hair was unprofessional or their name too difficult to pronounce, suggesting they alter themselves for the job.
For her photo series “Can I Touch It?” Beal gave white women in their forties a hairstyle typically seen on black women. The revamped women posed in corporate portraits, suits and all, donning their corn rows, braids and finger curls. The resulting images offer a striking juxtaposition of demure button-ups and pearls with intricate, seemingly out-of-place coifs. Yet the photos' most compelling aspects are not the physical discrepancies between a white woman and her black hair, but the complex histories, assumptions, silences, and transformations that make such discrepancies apparent to the viewer.
Endia Beal is a North Carolina-based artist, internationally known for her photographic narratives and video testimonies that examine the personal stories of marginalized communities and individuals. Beal currently serves as the Director of Diggs Gallery at Winston-Salem State University and Associate Professor of Art.
In 2013, Beal graduated from Yale School of Art, with an MFA in Photography. Her work has been exhibited in such institutions such as the Charles H. Wright Museum in Detroit, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture in Charlotte, NC, the Aperture Foundation of New York, and the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz.
The Half King Photography Series
dedicated to showing exceptional photography. In tandem
with its reading series, The Half King fosters a dialog
between photographers and writers that underscores the
importance of their unique relationship. Co-curating its
photography series are James Price, Assignments Editor at Getty Reportage, and Anna Van Lenten, writer and editor.