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HomeVideoClaudia Rankine on how this painting reflects the ‘precarity of Black lives...

Claudia Rankine on how this painting reflects the ‘precarity of Black lives in America’ | Mementos

For months, poet Claudia Rankine said she’s been contemplating a particular piece of artwork that hangs directly from her in the dining room: A study by artist Titus Kaphar.

In Kaphar’s piece, there’s an area of unpainted canvas in place of what would have been a child in a mother’s arms. This study, Rankine said, opens up questions “around the precarity of Black lives in America.”

“So for every mother, for every parent, for every aunt, uncle, it’s not that you necessarily will lose a child, but you always are inside the space of wonder, of apprehension, of fear that something could go wrong only because your child is Black,” Rankine told the PBS NewsHour.

The PBS NewsHour asked 11 artists and writers about which memento best expressed their experience this year. Here’s what they said:

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