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When the Hunted Become the Hunters

Over the years, I’ve traveled to many places, and it never fails that when I say I am from North Carolina, people immediately cringe. Yet, our issues in America do not lie just in the South. This performance takes place in Massachusetts, the state where the first formally organized police force was established. I am essentially taking the South up North through tropes like hunting clothes—where I am from, hunting clothes are everyday attire even when you are not hunting! My performance is saying enough is enough and that this antiquated need for passivity is coming to an end. 

I captured this performance at the beginning of 2020, yet with the BLM protests happening at that time and the topic of defunding the police, I felt like this piece was coming to life. Especially with the sound of fireworks that accompanies the performance.

The performance also addresses the dehumanization of women. Of course, The Right to Life is the belief that a person and or living creature has the right to live and should not be killed by any person, but it’s also used in debates by those who wish to end the practice of abortion. This brings up questions of ownership, objecthood, and commodification of the body. 

As a Black woman, I am four times more likely to die during pregnancy and/or childbirth than a white woman. Not only are we fighting for our lives in hospitals where adequate health care is a right, but we are also fighting for our lives every day, as we must deal with police brutality, over-sexualization, adultification, redlining, voter suppression, economic inequality, institutionalized oppression, and microaggressions daily. 

We must ask ourselves who in this country is living and who is simply breathing for air. 

Read full article here:

https://bombmagazine.org/articles/2020/11/23/protection-and-resistance-stephanie-j-woods-interviewed/

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When the Hunted Become the Hunters, 2020
Moving audio photograph, seven minutes, thirty-nine seconds. 
Installation view at Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY.

When the Hunted Become the Hunters, is a defensive performance featuring Fourth of July audio captured on the porch of the artist's childhood home in Charlotte, NC. In the performance, the artist is wearing hunting clothes and shielded by a satin bonnet that features an American flag dyed lavender and embellished with the text, The Right To Life.

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When the Hunted Become the Hunters, (detail)

When the Hunted Become the Hunters, (detail)

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