Edible Negros is an exploration of western consumerism and its impact on African-Americans. The thesis grapples with the oppression African-Americans have systematically experienced within capitalist and consumerist society and our collective struggles toward liberation.

This analysis goes further to study the western world's consumption of the black body, how African-Americans have been abused as a commodity; and as an overall examination of the western world's dependence on both the metaphorical and literal consumption of our bodies through labor exploitation, physical mutilation, and cannibalism.

Furthermore, the investigation encompasses how the perception and value of African-American lives has transitioned. This includes a focus on the fields of science, politics, labor, and culture over the centuries as an acute observation of the impact of commodification, and how it plays a fundamental role in shaping the humanity and identity of African-Americans.

The artwork, a series of black figure paintings and portraits, convey the dissonance of existing in a world that consumes you. And confronts the viewer with questions that lead to potentially uneasy, and revolutionary answers.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

African Americans in art; Consumption (Economics) in art; Human figure in art; Painting--Themes, motives

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Fine Arts Studio (MFA)

Department, Program, or Center

School of Art (CAD)


Luvon Sheppard

Advisor/Committee Member

Clifford Wun

Advisor/Committee Member

Eileen Bushnell

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