An artist, Harmonia Rosales, has been subjected to racial abuse after she painted a black man’s version of Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, reimagining both God and the First Man as black women.
Rosales, from Chicago, posted her version of the iconic painting on social media, renaming it ‘The Creation of God’.
It was retweeted and liked thousands of times on Twitter and Instagram, attracting praise from all corners. But of course, criticism.
‘I wanted to take a significant painting, a widely recognised painting that subconsciously or consciously conditions us to see white male figures as powerful and authoritative and flip the script, establish a counter-narrative,’ Rosales said.
‘White figures are a staple in classic art featured in major museums. They are the “masters” of the masterpieces. Why should that continue?’
She added: ‘When you consider that all human life came out of Africa, the Garden of Eden and all, then it only makes sense to paint God as a black woman, sparking life in her own image.’
Some couldn’t understand her viewpoint and so, strongly criticised the idea.
‘This is the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a while,’ said one Tweeter.
Another, presumably confusing Adam for Jesus commented on Instagram, commented: ‘Nobody really knows what God looks like but we do understand what Jesus looks like and he was a man and he was Jewish.’
Another commented: ‘Imagine if we got paintings of black people and replaced the black people with whites!’
Another sarcastically added ‘Cultural appropriation!’, while someone else responded with ‘Disgusting’.
Some preferred she created her own piece, not recreate someone else’s own.
‘Why bite off someone else’s masterpiece in order to honour black women?’ One woman commented.
And a man commented: ‘Why can’t she make her own art? If making something for the identity and value for black women is so important why not just make original art, instead of copying someone else’s original art.’
In response, Rosales said: ‘Perhaps I was a little naive in underestimating the number of individuals who would not accept such a statement.
‘But everyone has a right to react and to express their feelings.
‘The sad thing is that fear of change, of seeing the world differently, can cause people to say and do things that are truly destructive.’