Backra Bluid

PhotographerStacey Tyrell
PrizePortraiture / Self-Portrait
Entry Description

The title of the series “Backra Bluid” draws from both words of West Indian and Scottish origins. The term “Backra” is an archaic Caribbean slang of West African origin meaning white master or white person and “Bluid” is the Scotch word for the blood of men and animals as well as kin. As a black child attending a predominantly white school there were often occasions here I would listen to my classmates proudly lay claim to their Scottish, Irish and English heritage while I would silently acknowledge my own. In many parts of my family on both sides you will find many men from Scotland, England and Ireland. As an adult on the odd occasion when I do mention this part of my heritage I am often met with uncomfortable looks from White and knowing nods from Blacks. I feel that this is in large part that by the very act of mentioning such ties I am inadvertently reminding them of the brutal system of colonial African slaver and its legacy that has brought about such connections. The images in the series are an attempt to interpret and explore these relatives from both past and present that I know are out there, as well as reflect on my own perceptions and preconceptions of “Whiteness”. There is a dualism that is inherent in the Euro-centric constructs of “Whiteness” and “Blackness” in Western societies. It leaves little room for the reality that the majority of people in post-colonial societies are generally hybrids of its past and current inhabitants. By simply changing my skin color and making subtle tweaks to my features I wish to show that if someone were to take a closer look at my face they would see that it might not be that much different from their own.

About Photographer

Stacey Tyrell was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design where she majored in Photography. In 2012 she was chosen as one of the top emerging Canadian photographers by the Magenta Foundation's FlashForward. Her work has appeared in such shows as “Photography NOW 2009” at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY and “Position As Desired: Contemporary African Canadian Photography” at the Royal Ontario Museum. Her images are part of Heritage Canada’s permanent collection and have appeared in such publications as Canadian Art Magazine, Prefix Photo and Applied Arts Magazine. She currently lives and works in New York City.