Black Man Wrestling Himself


Black Man Wrestling Himself is a painting that visually attempts to show the frustration every man feels in his attempt to do his best and be the best version of himself. Most men do not have his color to wrestle against though, like Black. Many men deal with the struggles of being a good provider and protector for his family. Money, stress and anxieties overwhelm all men. However, when striving to compete or survive in a highly competitive world with men of all races (and sometimes women) the addition of the color of your skin can add to the negative stress in the form of racism, discrimination and prejudice. Many Black men handle these deterrents well, but the thought that something that you are born with and cannot change can be viewed as a negative against your talents, skills and ability to perform well, brings to life the notion that “my skin is my sin” in the world…so the fight or wrestling begins.

On one side a Black man has to resist the desire to give in to the anguish that he is inferior or less than because of his skin color. On the other hand he must focus on the God-given fact that he is a human being and if properly prepared can accomplish almost anything.Therefore, these dueling mindsets are in constant conflict within his very soul.

This chaotic painting tries to capture that conflict through line and brush stroke and color. The brown and black of their skin cannot be held in place on their bodies because of the friction of this intense battle of one man within himself, to simply exist as he is. Through various competing color his war to remain sane wears on him as his energy is constantly exploding. Ironically, as he wrestles to appear calm and a part of the norm, his anxiety almost disintegrates his very being. He cannot afford to express his true frustration because in society he is not allowed to feel anything but equal though he lives a life that is far from equal regardless of his status. He realizes that regardless of his accomplishments society and even his Black culture and community will not allow him to feel any degree of separation. Rich or educated he will still be considered inferior by other Black people as well as those who would discriminate against him because of the color of his skin. The wrestling continues.

Dimensions 48 × 60 in

Curtis Derall Ferguson


Acrylic on canvas


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