To combat the stigma of fear, ignorance, and stereotypes associated with black people, Twitter turned a wall inside of its New York headquarters into a mural of African American faces. Dominique Duroseau, the Haitian-American photographer behind the 40 portraits, said the purpose of the installation is to humanize people with black and brown skin.
“The idea is to work on black visibility,” said Duroseau, who is dedicated to counteracting negative perceptions of black people through art. “This project jump-started years ago especially around Trayvon Martin’s death,” she told Black Enterprise.
Duroseau said she was intentional about having subjects appear emotionless while showing no visible distinction of their cultural, socio-economic, sexual orientation, or educational status. “There is no expression of anger, hate, [or] love. It’s just a neutral look because I needed people to look at them for what they are,” she said. Rather than seeing a criminal, “thug,” or “welfare mother,” viewers are exposed to people who look like their friends, neighbors, and colleagues. “These are the people that can be your coworkers, they could be the ones educating your kids, they could be your neighbors—but they’re also the people who are in danger outside of these walls.”
The installation is part of Twitter’s #WallForACause series in New York, which spotlights different social causes brought to life by local artists. This month’s mural was created in partnership with @Blackbirds, a group of black Twitter employees, and ARTNOIR, a global collective of creatives and culturalists of color. Featured in the photos are the Twitter Blackbirds, themselves, as well as other influencers of color who are part of Black Twitter. Ariel Adkins, the Art & Culture liaison at Twitter, said it was important for the tech giant to celebrate their black employees while drawing attention to the lack of diversity in the tech industry at large during Black History Month.