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"It's we Who Wear the Mask."

“It’s We Who Wear the Mask.”

2023 Mix media 16” x 20”


The mixed media painting "It is We Who Wear the Mask" is a tribute to the great writer Paul Laurance Dunbar. It is my interpretation of his poem "We Wear the Mask". The poem was written over a century ago, yet it still resonates with the experiences of African Americans today, albeit in different contexts.

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,

It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,—

This debt we pay to human guile;

With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,

And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be over-wise,

In counting all our tears and sighs?

Nay, let them only see us, while

We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries

To thee from tortured souls arise.

We sing, but oh the clay is vile

Beneath our feet, and long the mile;

But let the world dream otherwise,

We wear the mask!

Do you agree, disagree, or have an entirely different point of view? I'm all ears—let me know in the comments.

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