Artwork / Empathetic Magic / Lenwood Fitting In and Standing Out
$1800 | $1800
Lenwood asked me if I was Irish, gesturing towards my green Chuck Taylors as if my shoes justified the question. This was the second time in the space of a week that a stranger had tried that line on me, but this time I played along. I’d been sneaking looks at him since I noticed that he had cowboy boots to go with his hat and leather vest. I’d never seen a black cowboy.
We were both on our way to Harlem. He was headed there for the African American Day Parade, and I was meeting up with another subject from the series. As the subway train jostled and whined, Lenwood explained the history of the word “cowboy.” Originally, it was a derogatory term only applied to black cowherds. The history contained in that one word floored me. I asked him then and there if he'd let me paint him for Empathetic Magic.