Sacrifice of the Watermelon Virgin - Barkley Hendricks (NEW)
Sacrifice of the Watermelon Virgin or Shirt off Her Back
About the Work

From the Artist

Well, I paint and make art because I like doing it; that’s always the motivating factor. I’ve created a variety of imagery over the years—figurative painting, photography, fashion portfolios. The subject matter I’m involved with, though, has always been seen as suspect, given the screwed-up culture we live in… Given the fucked-up-ness of American culture, we can say that everything [I’ve made] is political, but that’s not the case.
—From https://hyperallergic.com/289393/barkley-l-hendricks-on-the-fucked-up-ness-of-american-culture/, accessed 6-22-2021

Sacrifice of the Watermelon Virgin or Shirt Off Her Back was inspired by a woman that Barkley L. Hendricks encountered in a club. He asked if he could see her shirt more closely, to which she very naturally replied by taking her shirt off and giving it to him. How’s that for the perfect combination of generosity and high self-esteem? 

Hendricks is making fun of the stereotype that Black people love watermelon and sex by depicting some watermelon stilettos that are about to be devoured by a tongue-out, fanged mouth on the right side of the painting, which contributes infinitely to the foot fetish-y vibe of the painting. This painting is a deviation from Hendricks’ usual artistic style, made up of portraits of the men and women, family, friends and sometimes complete strangers that had touched his life. According to Hendricks, these portraits have no political agenda but Shirt Off Her Back is a little different. Instead of delicately beating around the racism bush, Shirt Off Her Back tackles it head on. 
—From https://www.sartle.com/artwork/sacrifice-of-the-watermelon-virgin-or-shirt-off-her-back-barkley-l.-hendricks, accessed 6-22-2021

About the Artist

Philadelphia-born painter Barkley Hendricks studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA), Philadelphia, and earned a BFA and MFA from Yale University, New Haven, CT.

In 2008, his first career retrospective exhibition, Read More ⟶

Sacrifice of the Watermelon Virgin or Shirt off Her Back

Medium

Offset Lithograph

Date

1987

Dimensions

21.5" x 30"

Edition Size

85 prints in this edition

Printer

Robert "Bob" Franklin

Provenance:

Brandywine Workshop and Archives

Location

Philadelphia, PA