Backra Bluid:
Stacey Tyrell challenges racial stereotypes
with staged self-portraits   

The title of the series “Backra Bluid”, draws from words of both West Indian and Scottish origins.  The term “Backra” is an archaic Caribbean slang of West African origin meaning white master or white person and “Bluid” is the Scotch word for the blood of men or animals as well as kin.

As a black child attending a predominantly white school there were often occasions where I would listen to my classmates proudly lay claim to their Scottish, Irish and English heritage while I would silently acknowledge my own. In many parts of my family on both sides you will find many people from Scotland, England and Ireland.

These images are an attempt to interpret and explore distant relatives from both the past and present that I know exist.  The images are also a reflection on my own perceptions and preconceptions of “Whiteness” in particular as it relates to white Anglo-Saxon people. I feel there is a dualism that is inherent in the constructs of “Whiteness” and “Blackness” in Western societies.  It leaves little room for the reality that the majority of people in post-colonial societies are generally hybrids of its past and current inhabitants.

By simply changing my skin color and making very subtle tweaks to my own features I wish to show that if someone were to take a closer look at my face they would see that it might not be that much different from their own.

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Written By
Stacey Tyrell

Stacey Tyrell

Stacey Tyrell was born and raised in Toronto. She attended OCAD University where she majored in Photography. Her work predominantly deals with themes of identity, race and heritage as it pertains to post-colonial societies and the Caribbean Diaspora. Her work has appeared in such shows as Flash Forward 2012 at the Magenta Foundation, Position As Desired: Contemporary African Canadian Photography at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Canadian Museum for Immigration at Pier 21, MLK50 at the Places des Arts, PQ and Photography NOW 2009 at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, NY.