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kgbrown's picture

The Dinner Party

When we were asked to write about the image of Sojourner Truth's plate from The Dinner Party, I was unsure of the purpose of the assignment and where it would lead. I found myself describing the three faces, their different aspects, but not really commenting on the way that the three faces related to each other. After finding out that these three faces were all representative of one woman, Sojourner Truth, I started to consider the way that the three faces relate and how they come together to form one image, which I had not really considered as a whole until then. In class, I also learned that the image of the three faces was in fact part of a series of plates with laibia as their subject and that the plate that represented Sojourner Truth was the only one that did not take this form. I began to think about the choice that Judy Chicago had made in not representing Truth's image as parallel to that of the other women at the table. Growing up in the era of third wave feminism, it seems to me that choosing to represent women by their more distinctive qualities, like their face, or by attempting to represent the different sides of a woman's character, Judy Chicago perhaps did more for Truth than she did for the other women at the table. I find that I can see more of Truth in her plate than I can see of the other women with their plates. I certainly think that Judy Chicago was able to show much more emotion and really capture more of Truth's personality because she used faces instead of laibia. However, I do find the lack of similairity between Truth's plate and that of the other women to be puzzling. The non-congruency seems to make Truth's plate stand out even more. I am curious to explore the racial implications that were suggested in class as a possible reason as to the difference in Truth's plate, though I am not sure how to discuss this issue on my own.

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