By Grace Perkunder

Lines are scribbled on a canvas
Illustrating the page
With colours and shapes
A finished piece
It is colourful and abstract
It appeals to the eyes
I squint my eyes and try to write a story in my mind about it
But it doesn’t answer questions
Or ask them
It shows without telling
It’s as though displaying
Is assumed as understanding
We put our paints away
And wash our brushes
Call it a night
Someone needs to put their hands in every colour
To feel each and every one
And understand how they look
How they are treated
What we are doing wrong
Why blue is considered as messy
Why red gets more job opportunities
Displayed disproportionately on television
How the language of yellow
Is used ironically by the other colours
To sound tough
To make jokes
How purple is a mixture of red and blue
And it’s okay that it is two different things
But people cannot comprehend anything beyond
The primary colours
We paint with every colour
But without realizing it
We use them for one reason
And then hang our projects on the walls
And expect admiration
What is the use of creating art
If we do not dig deeper
We paint whatever lines we want
Without thinking about how we paint them

Representation of different racial groups is important. However, it is more crucial to focus on the ways people see and understand different races and how they are represented. My poem, entitled “do we really have artistic vision?”, using the metaphor of painting, illustrates the way that representation of different racial groups can actively oppress them if not done in a progressive way. I have chosen poetry as the medium to express my ideas because I felt it is a powerful way to get my message across. I was inspired by the poem “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou, which was shared by the instructor in the “Media, Race and Ethnicity” class. This poem inspired me with the way that it used something abstract to illustrate racial inequality. The poem refers mainly to painting, and the fact that often people think it is enough to simply talk about race or representation without thinking about the ways we portray these conversations within the media. I compare this idea to an artist completing a painting, but the painting itself not being finished before the artist stops working on it. It is also meant to point out the idea that simply representing all racial groups alone isn’t enough, and that more must be done in order to ensure that their histories and their voices are being heard in a way that truly does them justice. Poetry has always been something that has spoken to me; an artistic form that allows me to paint a picture with my words. I chose to use words in hope to evoke a powerful message and display this message through a visual concept.

Grace Perkunder:  Grace is a communications and media studies student at Carleton University. She has a passion for reading and writing and has published various pieces herself as well as through HerCampus Carleton.