Thought-Provoking Self Portraits Exploring an African-Canadian Artist’s Racial Identity

Stacey Tyrell isn’t typically considered “white” — but like most in the West with African ancestry, Tyrell has Caucasian ancestors on both sides of her family. Enter Tyrell’s Backra Bluid series of self-portraits, which place the artist in period costumes and poses that theoretically reflect the appearance of Tyrell’s female white ancestors. Derived from an Afro-Caribbean term for a white master and the Scotch word for blood, Backra Bluid forces the audience to reflect on their notions of the divide between white and black and “the brutal system of colonial African slavery and its legacy that has brought about such connections” between Tyrell’s black and white family members. Tyrell, who is African-Canadian, slightly altered her skin tone and features for the photos, which are eerie, gorgeous, and thoroughly intriguing. Click through for more shots from Backra Bluid.

Image Credit: Stacey Tyrell
Image Credit: Stacey Tyrell