It’s not very often that art by a Black women receives the critical acclaim that Carrie Mae Weem’s “Kitchen Table Series” has. The iconic series has inspired many, including Dante Bond who recreates the photo series in his latest project. We talked to Bond about Weem’s influence on him as a queer, Black, male and his aspirations for the project.
What impact has Carrie Mae Weem’s “Kitchen Table Series” had on your life and what compelled you to recreate your own version?
I discovered the “Kitchen Table Series” back in high school. It was just one of the images of the series attached to an article about Carrie Mae Weems. I didn’t pay much attention but, it always stuck with me for some reason. I rediscovered Weems and her series while watching “Through A Lens Darkly,” a documentary on the impact of Black photographers. I really don’t know why this series struck me so much, the ideas it brought up about race, gender, family, friends, power, and unrequited love were conversations that always stood out to me and she had a beautiful way of showcasing these in this series and her work as a whole. The impact this series had for women in particular was and is amazing. The pride and power it exudes for women is incredible and I want to replicate that impact for Black queer men. I could talk all day about the impact she has on me and my art, I just hope I can have the same impact with my work. I also really wanted my first official project to be an homage to the women that inspired me to explore photography for myself.
What similarities/differences do you see between yourself as a queer, Black, man and Black women artists like Carrie Mae Weems?
Honestly, there aren’t many queer men of color in the arts that have been recognized enough for queer men of my generation and prior generations, to feel recognized enough. We had no other choice but to turn to the next best thing. Black women have been sources of hope for queer Black men for generations. To put it simply, we mutually understand the impact of the patriarchal society we live in and I think that’s a major factor for the kindred feeling. I don’t really see major similarities and differences between the two that wouldn’t expand into deeper conversation on my part but, it’s no debate Black women are not respected enough for the sacrifices and contributions they’ve made and queer men of color definitely understand how that can feel.
What are your overall hopes for the project?
It’ll be my first complete project so I’m really just hoping it works out. My biggest aspiration with all my work is to spark questions, whatever they may be. I’m really hoping the Almighty Weems is able to see this work. *fingers crossed*
Do you see yourself recreating any other classic photo series or working on original projects in the future?
I really don’t know, I guess I would say I’ll always probably dabble in both. I’m a major fan of things happening organically, so it depends on how I’ll be inspired in the future but, I definitely have more projects on the way.
What conversations would you like to spark with this project?
To put it simply, I want a similar story that was told in the original series to be rewritten by the hands of queer Black boy. Overall, I don’t have specific ideas I want someone to notice, I want to see what comes about naturally from this work. I just hope something sparks.
To see more of Dante’s work, visit him on social media: