Fall Barnet Scholars Weekend: Friday Gallery Talk

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Friday November 11

12:00 PM  –  1:00 PM

“The Drop Sinister: Harry Willson Watrous’s Visualization of the One Drop Rule” 

In 1913, Harry Willson Watrous painted The Drop Sinister: What Shall We Do With It? a controversial composition that depicts a mixed-race family consisting of a light-skinned Black father, a red-headed mother, and their blond, blue-eyed daughter. Watrous’s family is racially ambiguous and physical appearances obscure the racial identities of the mother and daughter. This lecture will examine how The Drop Sinister: What Shall We Do With It? challenges whiteness as an invisible, pervasive category. By interrogating its own capacities of racial representation, Watrous’s The Drop Sinister confronts the beliefs and practices that perpetuate racial inequity and prejudice and implicates the viewer to do the same.  

Dr. Mey-Yen Moriuchi is an Associate Professor of Art History at La Salle University where she specializes in cultural encounters and representations of racial, social, and national identities in 18th-20th-century Latin American and American art. Her book, Mexican Costumbrismo: Race, Society, and Identity in Nineteenth Century Art, which examined representations of racial and social types in 19th-century costumbrismo, was published by Pennsylvania State University Press in 2018. Her current research investigates the history of Asian migration to Latin America and analyzes the artwork of Asian/Latin American artists. She is also co-editor of the volume, Art and Activism in the Twenty-First Century, which examines the role and breadth of contemporary activist art. (Routledge, December 2022). 

Free, registration required