Mosaics made out of butterfly wings are a popular art form in Central African Republic. Professional butterfly hunters gather butterflies in the forest outside Bangui, then sell them to artists, who use the wings to make mosaics.
Photos by Joe Penney/Reuters
“Every girl is expected to have caucasian blue eyes, full Spanish lips, a classic button nose, hairless Asian skin with a California tan, a Jamaican dance hall ass, long Swedish legs, small Japanese feet, the abs of a lesbian gym owner, the hips of a nine-year-old boy, the arms of Michelle Obama and doll tits. This is why everyone is struggling.”
Roy DeCarava was born December 9, 1919 in Harlem, New York. Growing up, DeCarava was frustrated with the way people of color were portrayed in photography and other media. Through his own work, DeCarava fought to address the issue of black representation in photography, capturing candid, everyday life in Harlem. Reflecting on DeCarava’s death in 2009, The New York Times described him as an “Harlem Insider Who Photographed Ordinary Life.”
The legacy that DeCarava leaves behind, however, is far from ordinary. In 1952, DeCarava became the first African American to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2006, George W. Bush presented DeCarava with the National Medal of Arts from the National Endowment for the Arts, which is the highest award an artist can receive from the U.S. government. His work can be viewed in museums across the country including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC; and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, TX. Some of DeCarava’s work can also be viewed online courtesy of the Sherry and Roy DeCarava Archives.
Come into the Schomburg to flip through Roy Decarava: A Retrospect by Peter Galassi, which features 200 of DeCarava’s photographs. While you’re there, also check out Roy Decarava: Photographs edited by James Alinder, and much more.