Rachel Dolezal's Art Is Incredible, But One Piece Is Already Facing Accusations Of Plagiarism
Rachel Dolezal represented herself as a black woman when she is actually white, and now her name has catapulted a nationwide discussion on what race means. Rachel Dolezal is a teacher, a civil rights activist whose work with the NAACP and other human rights organizations was intended to improve the black condition. Rachel Dolezal is also an artist, and her artwork is good. Like sold-for-real-money good. It also might be fake.
During her Today show appearance Tuesday morning, Dolezal addressed the issue of her race for the first time since the story broke last week and declared, "I identify as black." The black experience and cultural heritage is the subject of most, if not all, of her art pieces, which are posted on her personal blog. On her website, Dolezal calls herself a "mixed-media artist" and her pieces appear to live up to that call. Paintings, photographs, sculptures, recycled paper, wood prints? Let's be real: This woman is talented. She also seems to have made some solid money on her work, with most of the displayed pieces available for purchase. According to the site, some have sold for thousands of dollars. All of these pieces below are or were available for purchase at one time.
Available for purchase.
This acrylic painting on puzzle pieces is said to have sold for $4,300 to the Irby Collection in Mississippi. (Bustle could not confirm the existence of the Irby Collection In Mississippi. )
This acrylic paint on elk hide work was sold for an undisclosed amount.
"In Sickness And Health"
This bronze finish on plaster cast was sold for an undisclosed amount.
You can also buy Rachel Dolezal's art on eBay, where two charcoal on elk hide drawings are available for purchase. One features a young black boy while the other has an older black man. Bidding starts at $5,000, but you can buy the latter now for a cool $50,000. Neither have any bids so far.
But Rachel Dolezal could also be a plagiarist. The painting in question is part of a three-panel acrylic piece that includes poetry from her brother, Joshua Dolezal, whose sexual abuse charges are allegedly at the center of the family dispute, according to court documents obtained by the New York Daily News. The second panel, called "The Shape of our Kind," features a slave ship caught in a breaking wave on a stormy night and is a near identical copy of J.M.W. Turner's 1840 work "The Slave Ship." So far, there haven't been any rumblings about any of Dolezal's other pieces.
Dolezal's talented, yes, but I still don't understand why it was necessary for her to portray herself as a black woman. Could she not be a white woman and still tell these stories in her art? When asked on Today whether she thought she could have made the same impact in her civil rights work as a white woman instead of as a black woman, she said she didn't know.
I don't know, I guess I haven't had the opportunity to experience that in those shoes. So I'm not sure, I'm not sure.
Images: Today/NBC; Rachel Dolezal/Blogspot (4); pinkwestie04/ebay (2)