Wake and Resurrection of the Bicentennial Negro, 1975

Mixed media installation

The Wake and Resurrection of the Bicentennial Negro was Faith Ringgold’s first multimedia masked performance piece. It was created in response to the American Bicentennial celebrations of 1976. Ringgold wanted to create a piece that represented how she felt about these celebrations. For her, there was no reason to celebrate over a hundred years of slavery and the remaining years of racial inequality. Instead of a celebration, a wake is depicted. “I wanted to create a visual narrative of the dynamics of racism, including the self-imposed oppression of drug addiction. As the story goes – Buba, the hero of the Wake, died because of drug addiction, and Bena, the heroine, died of grief ”.