Simone, my new painting was installed at my client's home in San Francisco on September 19, 2020.
Simone is the name inspired by Nina Simone for her bravery and activism.
In the painting the woman is dressed in a white Victorian inspired bustle dress
The Victorian Bustle is said to be inspired by the Hottentott Venus One of them Sara Baartman was the best known of at least two South African Khoikhoi women who, due to the European objectification of their buttocks, were exhibited as freak show attractions in 19th-century Europe under the name Hottentot Venus—"Hottentot" was the name for the Khoi people, now considered an offensive term, and "Venus" referred to the Roman goddess of love and fertility.
She was paraded around Europe as a sideshow freak ridiculed for her features. Yet that shape inspired the Victorian Bustle and speaks to the commodification and exploitation of black people.
Her hair is like a crown of cockleburs, prickly seed pods, once used as a racial epithet to describe black natural hair, now a symbol of pride and beauty.
Simone holds a chain, that may represent that struggles of slavery and bondage. At the end of the chain are keys, that could symbolize how the Black woman is one of the keys to American culture. She has been the mammy, the nanny and the secret lover to America. Up to the 20th Century the Black woman, symbolically raised America. My work acknowledges her contributions and respects her strength and resilience.
Video of unveiling
Willie Little is a Black artist and storyteller from North Carolina who currently splits his time between Oakland, CA and Portland Oregon.