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Patricia Carter , First Prize #2, 1997; oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches; The M&T Bank Collection at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1999

Patricia Carter , First Prize #2, 1997; oil on canvas, 50 x 50 inches; The M&T Bank Collection at the Burchfield Penney Art Center, 1999

Adults, older girls, shops, magazines, newspapers, window signs—all the world had agreed that a blue-eyed, yellow-haired, pink-skinned doll was what every girl child treasured. “Here,” they said, “this is beautiful, and if you are on this day ‘worthy’ you may have it.” — Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

Patricia Carter produces monotypes and paintings that represent her interest in challenging stereotypes of race and gender, particularly African American women’s roles as nannies, cleaners, and domestic workers. In a similar vein, First Prize #2 questions the lack of progress in American civil rights. The young girl’s costume implies a limited career choice as a maid, but it earns “First Prize.” The dubious award in the form of a Caucasian doll figuratively puts her in her place as a servant by an unsavory looking Caucasian man, who represents the worst of American regressive social policies. — Nancy Weekly