Yetunde Sapp

A Seat at the Table

Class of: 2023

Major: Fine Arts BFA

Medium: Mixed media

Faculty: Marc Lepson

Prompt: The assignment was to visit two places that were given on a select list, and to then create a portrait of those places using Photoshop and illustrator to incorporate images you captured to create a new one. I then took that a step further and hand painted people into the Photoshop image, adding an additional element to it.

My goal was to transform the space into something that I did not see when I was in the space. I suppose that the final piece that I created was somewhat influenced by the second place that I visited (Bluestocking Bookstore) and its attention to social justice issue/feminist commentary. When I entered this bar, I was the only woman of color that I saw in the entire place, which made me uncomfortable in a sense, like it was not a place for me. This feeling was a stark contrast to the bookstore, which literally was intended to be a safe space. But part of me wanted to be accepted at the same time upon entering this restaurant. It made me wonder, to what extent would I be accepted, if I really tried to assimilate into this space, and what aspects of myself would have to be sacrificed or gotten rid of in order to mesh.

I ultimately was inspired by the style of Mickalene Thomas, another black female artist, and her artistic technique is the angle that I ultimately worked from. I wanted to pay homage to her while also making commentary about the Beekman Hotel. I made sure to illustrate my message through the body language of the women in the photograph and by leaving subliminal messages that reference aspects of black history.