Patterns of Commitment, 1991
mixed media; approx 30 x 60 feet
Patterns of Commitment is based on the photograph of a Nuba woman found in National Geographic magazine. Shot from behind and cropped at the head, the original image only displayed her backside, focusing on the scarified pattern across the skin. A typical anthropological text accompanied the photograph, which further served to objectify the woman. In this piece, Clark Espinal reproduces the original photograph in three variations: as a three-dimensional wax recreation, as an elusively shifting image on a fabric screen, and as a filtered image on the wall behind the screen. Each reproduction further emphasizes how the Nuba woman’s image is a misappropriation; a moment removed from reality and therefore emptied of its original meaning.
Patterns of Commitment is part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Canada.