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Now You See her ChesleY Antoinette'S luSh depictioNS of turbaNed creole womeN coNtiNue the coNverSatioN about race. By ReBecca SheRman T he women in artist chesley antoinette's photographs are gowned the way creole women from the Deep South would have been 250 years ago: in fine silk ruffles and lace, or frothy blouses and embroidered aprons. Their turbans are highly sculptural and exquisitely adorned. Tignon — a French term that referenced the head coverings for affluent women of mixed european, african, or caribbean descent — also has a nefarious connotation. Tignon Laws, first enacted in 1786 by the Spanish and perpetuated into the 19th century by the French, required creole women to completely hide their black hair. While the tignon was meant to shame and control, it ultimately became a symbol of rebellion. Instead of wearing simple cloth coverings, creole women asserted their individuality and stature by wrapping their heads with bold and expensive fabrics accentuated with jewels, feathers, ribbons, and tassels. The tignon — and the defiance it inspired — is at the heart of chesley antoinette's current exhibition, "Tignon," which debuted at the South Dallas cultural center in 2018. It has since traveled throughout Texas, most recently to the Georgetown art center in February 2020. a november show at Duluth art Institute has been postponed until 2021 due to cOVID-19, but the exhibit is currently on her website, a Dallas-based mixed-media artist with a passion for history, 35-year-old antoinette researched real women from the Spanish and French colonial era in america through books and other writings. no images of the women exist, so she referenced paintings and drawings of Black women by european artists of the day as inspiration for the poses, settings, and compositions. antoinette designed and constructed each tignon, collaborating with photographer JD moore and stylist courtney Guy to bring the portraits to life. The richly saturated colors and grainy finish give the works a painterly, sumptuous quality. In Louison Chastang, her glowing mocha skin is set off by pearls, a soufflé of pink roses, and greenery rising from her head in a billowy confection of fabric. here's what we know about her: The longtime companion of Jean chastang, a white european living in mobile, alabama, during the late 18th century, Louison bore him 10 children. Jean described Louison in his 1805 will as a "beloved worthy friend and companion," bequeathing her everything he owned. Such liaisons were illegal, but quite common according to antoinette's research. Chesley Antoinette's No be ganado mi libertad sobre las espaldas, 2017 (Continued)

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