Art & Black Joy: An Artistic Approach to Confronting Racism

"It's a celebration of self, a celebration of family, a celebration of overcoming struggles. And, you know, some people would say that just being Black and alive in America is a revolutionary act. That to be Black and alive, and full of joy is a revolutionary act."—Anwar Floyd-Pruitt

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Art & Black Joy: An Artistic Approach to Confronting Racism

Clip: S2 Ep4 | 1m 39s

What will it take to have honest conversations about racism?

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Anwar Floyd-Pruitt

Anwar Floyd-Pruitt

Anwar Floyd-Pruitt is an artist, curator, and puppeteer from Milwaukee. A graduate of UW-Madison (MFA ’20), Floyd-Pruitt also earned a BFA from UW-Milwaukee (’16) and BA in Psychology from Harvard University (’99). The Chazen Museum of Art, Edgewood College, Mount Mary University and the Museum of Wisconsin Art have hosted solo exhibitions of his collages, paintings, and mixed-media self-portraits. In addition to leading puppet making workshops, Floyd-Pruitt writes and performs a family friendly singalong called Hip Hop Puppet Party. In 2021 he was awarded a grant from the Jane Henson Foundation to engage at-risk youth in puppetry. Floyd-Pruitt is Associate Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Wisconsin Art in West Bend. 


Angela Fitzgerald: We can’t remove mental health from the larger topic of, like, we need to address these are systemic, historic issues that are still pervasive and we’re not really doing a good job of dealing with, so how do we do that in a way that doesn’t ruffle feathers, but I guess it’s okay to ruffle . . . But how do we move things forward?

Anwar Floyd-Pruitt: Right, right, right.

[Angela laughs]

We can’t even have the conversation because someone’s feelings are gonna get hurt. Yet, my lived experience. . .

Angela: Right, like, your physical safety is. . .

Anwar: It’s okay for me to constantly, you know, to deal, to deal with those situations about racism. So, it’s, you know, it’s going to take, I’m not gonna say an artist, but it’s going to take an artistic approach to communication to get people on board, to get people to perhaps find the common ground, to get people to find a way forward that, well, unfortunately, there’s no way forward without people getting out of their comfort zone.

Angela: Right.

Anwar: And so, if we’re gonna even try to create a way forward where people don’t have to leave their comfort zone, then we’re actually not. We’re actually not trying, or we’re not putting our efforts, our eggs in the right basket.

Angela: Absolutely. It’s “Whose discomfort are we prioritizing?”

Anwar: Sure.

Angela: Watch more Why Race Matters online and on the PBS app on your phone, tablet, Roku, or any other streaming device.

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