How a Superwoman Persona Affects Black Women’s Health

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(FuturityA new study finds positive and negative health effects for African American women who use a “Superwoman” persona to cope with the stress of discrimination.

The Superwoman persona refers to the idea of feeling a need to be strong, self-sacrificing and emotionless, says Yijie Wang, assistant professor of human development and family studies at Michigan State University.

Wang and Amani Allen, associate professor of community health sciences and epidemiology at the University of California, Berkeley, conducted the study with 208 self-identified African American women in the San Francisco Bay area.

“Research has already identified discrimination as a risk factor for health outcomes,” Wang says. “We want to know whether the Superwoman mindset helps buffer the deleterious effects of discrimination on black women’s health, and if so, which ones.”

The researchers found that, when faced with high levels of racial discrimination, some aspects of the Superwoman persona—such as feeling the need to be strong and to suppress one’s emotions—seemed to protect health and reduce the negative health effects of chronic racial discrimination.

At the same time, other facets of the persona, such as having an intense drive to succeed and feeling an obligation to help others, seem to further exacerbate the damaging health effects—such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes—of chronic stress associated with racial discrimination.

“For those aspects of the persona, or what we call ‘Superwoman schema,’ that worsen the negative health effects associated with racial discrimination, how do we lessen those risks?” Allen says. “And for those factors that are more protective, how do we leverage them to inform interventions designed to promote health and well-being for African American women?”

In the study, researchers asked participants to rate their experience of racial discrimination in different contexts, including finding housing, finding employment, at work, at school, getting credit for a bank loan or mortgage, and in health-care settings. They also rated to what extent they identified with different aspects of the Superwoman schema.

The participants also received a physical exam, with researchers recording their height, weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and other health indicators.

Some surprising relationships emerged. For example, the study found that women who reported suppressing emotions had less stress in their bodies. This contradicts psychological studies, which commonly show that suppressing emotions, rather than openly expressing them, can increase stress and be detrimental to health.

“The Superwoman schema also reflects gendered racial socialization that African American women receive early in life and throughout their lives,” Wang says. “By identifying the protective vs. risky dimensions, we also hope to figure out the types of messages that should be conveyed to African American women and girls.”

19 members confirmed in Partnership Advisory Group to determine NHRMC’s future

NHRMC President/CEO John Gizdic and County Manager Chris Coudriet held a media round table discussion on the next steps of the NHRMC’s future. (Photo:Monique Robinson/WWAY)

NEW HANOVER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council is set to discuss a resolution urging the county to table the proposal to sell the hospital for at least a year to spend time addressing community’s concerns. However, President and CEO John Gizdic and County Manager Chris Coudriet say they are not changing the plan.

The council’s resolution asks New Hanover County to spend the year discussing health care issues, funding, hospital economics, and antitrust issues.

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“I believe what the City Council is requesting is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish through the process that has been outlined,” Gizdic said.

On Tuesday, Wilmington City Council plans to vote on pushing back the process of creating a request for proposals for a year to “hold extensive community discussion… so that the community may have a thorough appreciation of the issues and be confident that their best interests is paramount…,” as stated in the proposal.

Gizdic says this should not be tabled. He says he’s surprised by the timing of this resolution, but this plan is still a go. Gizdic says this has been a long deliberate process that has involved the community.

“As part of the resolution that was approved by the county commissioners on September 16, they approved a Partnership Advisory Group (PAG),” Gizdic said. “This would be a group that is representing the community that would come together and take point on this process.”

Coudriet says, as of last night, 19 people have confirmed their position in the PAG.

He says the group is made up of 5 hospital trustee members, 5 physicians, and 9 community members with it almost evenly men and women. He says around 25% are African American. Coudriet adds some of them have been outspoken against the sale. He says the NHRMC Board of Trustees endorsed all 9 of the community members, which include a clergy, a finance expert, business expert and a nursing expert.

Gizdic says the 5 physicians were chosen by the NHRMC staff.

“A very important part of the Partnership Advisory Group in place…is the very fact that they represent the community,” Gizdic said. “It’s not just John Gizdic or Chris Codriet that is driving this process. It will be all 19 members of that Partnership Advisory Group who come from all different parts of our community.”

He says their tasks will include “..issuing the RFP on behalf of the county, coming up with the organizations we would send that to,as well as then, evaluating those proposals when we get them back probably sometime in the late Spring.”

The City’s resolution pushes to keep the hospital locally controlled, but Gizdic says a sale is not the only option.

With a rapidly growing community, he says it’s a matter of figuring out what is required to be successful. Gizdic says, over the last several years, there has been a significant increase in surgeries, inpatient admissions and physician office visits.

“I really don’t see delaying or tabling this process for a year as being helpful at all,” Gizdic said.

Coudriet says, with only two business days until Tuesday, the PAG members will be announced before the hearing, but will not meet before then as previously stated.

The county is holding another public hearing on Tuesday at Snipes Elementary School from 4 to 7 pm. The community will be able to share feedback with commissioners. It will also be streamed live on the county’s Facebook page.

We reached out to Wilmington City Council members. Those, who responded, did not want to comment.

Phillips Chairman Ed Dolman Reflects On Dramatic Change In Global Art Markets, From Intimidating Grandeur To Accessible Emojis

Building on decades of experience setting selling records and launching careers of now wildly popular artists is contingent upon nimbly embracing all aspects of the dynamic art market, from anticipating seismic shifts in buyer appetites to harnessing the broad reach of technology to collaborating across cultures and generations. Ed Dolman exudes a calm intensity that sets the stage for the forward-looking auction world.

During his five years as chief executive officer at Phillips, the auction house has transformed with the record-breaking sale of Pablo Picasso’s La Dormeuse for $57.8 million and Jean-Michel Basquiat’s Flexible for $45 million. Perhaps more significantly, Phillips has introduced to auction artists such as KAWS, Mark Bradford and Urs Fischer.

“It’s been an undeniable progressive change in taste as far ago as the mid-1990s. By the end of the 1990s, the Post-War Contemporary market was still relatively small, but you could see it was building,” Dolman said in an interview at his New York office. “YBA (Young British Art) movement with (Charles) Saatchi’s support of Sarah Lucas, Rachel Whiteread and Damien Hirst, really forced a taste in collecting among some of the most influential collectors.”

Demographics play a major role. “It’s the fact that art isn’t now collected by a small club of well-established families on the Upper East Side and Paris,” said Dolman. “We are now seeing newly enriched collectors coming to us from the emerging markets. They tend to be younger and they have made money faster, and they are interested in the culture they are living in now, not to aspire to 18th-century grandeur.”

Works by two artists sold by Phillips at auction for the first time on September 24 handily exceeded estimates.

Leidy Churchman’s Big Kali (Goddess of Time and Death) (2014), a signed and dated oil on canvas fetched $50,000, more than triple the high end of the $10,000 to $15,000 estimate. Ad Minoliti’s Queer Deco Intervention (2014), a signed, acrylic on printed canvas, generated $16,250, more than double the high end of the $6,000 to $8,000 estimate.

“I think people look to us because within the DNA of Phillips is support and staging of sales to bring new artists to the attention of the market and collectors. We do a good job there. It’s a balancing act, because we don’t want too much to disrupt the careers of young artists, because prices inflate and then crash. We are proud of bringing new artists to market,” Dolman said. “When we talk about the rise of Post-War Contemporary, you see cycles within it. Certain artists reach great levels at auction and some fade away. We have seen recent significant interest in the work of African American artists and female artists, and that market will grow considerably in size.”

Post-War and Contemporary Art is now the biggest sector in the art market. Impressionism and Modern Art remain important, but sales are dependent on master works coming to market at outrageously high prices.

“New buyers are coming in from around the world, and they tend to buy Contemporary Art. You can’t exclude the U.S.,” said Dolman. “The art market itself is very interesting to collectors. The Chinese have been the most dominant in last ten years, and that market continues to grow. I think it’s very important for everyone in our business to continue to look at Europe and Asia without forgetting the U.S.”

Dolman credits Phillips’ team of experts working across Asia, Europe and the Americas with tracking the pulse of global trends.

“They are totally immersed in the art world and art market, and we rely on their judgment, and that is very important for them. We have a very seasoned and respected team, but also a young team,” he said. “We strive to have integrity, credibility and expertise. We like to feel we’re more entrepreneurial, more dynamic. We hope to continue to create a market for young specialists to bring this evolving taste. We rely on this cross-generational input.”

Technology has had a dramatic impact, especially over the last five years.

“We’ve reached a tipping point where our clients expect to engage with us over the internet. Certainly, online bidding is now the most popular part of our sales. We now have sales with more than 700 online registered bidders,” said Dolman. “It is also being reflected in work of artists with what we are now beginning to see in virtual reality and augmented reality.”

The global art world is increasingly relying on blockchain technology to boost buyer confidence in provenance and record keeping. Verisart, a pioneer in using blockchain to verify valuable items like fine art, last week announced it has raised $2.5 million in seed financing in a round led by Galaxy Digital EOS VC Fund—a partnership between blockchain-focused merchant bank, and Block.one, the publisher of EOSIO, the blockchain protocol—bolstering the investments from Sinai Ventures and Rhodium.

“I’m very interested in what blockchain can do to shared ownership of works of art,” said Dolman.

While at a conference last month in Seoul, Dolman learned about Korean art-blockchain project ARTBLOC, which introduced the world’s first fractionalized ownership sale of David Hockney. The British artist is wildly popular in Korea.

Those investors “own a piece of Hockney that you can sell and trade. People have looked at this before, and creating a shared marketplace for these works of art has been challenging,” said Dolman. “I think people’s comfort with blockchain technology as an asset-backed digital key will enable trade. People are trying very hard to create a blockchain authenticator. The art market is very small in comparison to most markets.”

Technology also plays a key role in increased access to information of global art sales and prices.

“The pricing database of art has had a huge impact,” said Dolman. “Before Artnet there was no place to get prices on the art market. Now people are given great comfort with more pricing data.”

Despite the rise and necessity of technology, collectors aren’t ready to abandon the thrill of live auctions.

“One of the reasons online-only auctions have struggled to get traction is it’s very difficult to capture the impact of a work of art digitally and transform it on a screen,” said Dolman. “I think online auctions where clients can’t physically inspect the works are hamstrung. The exhibition is very important to us. We spend a lot of time on exhibitions.”

Phillips will soon enhance its exhibition space with a move into 55,000 square feet of commercial space at 432 Park Avenue, the third-tallest building in the United States and the second-tallest building in New York City, behind One World Trade Center and ahead of the Empire State Building. Phillips will take over the double-height, column-free underground concourse of more than 30,000 square feet with direct access from Park Avenue and executive office space with an entrance on 40 East 57th Street across from the Four Seasons Hotel.

“It’s the scale of the space that will allow us to exhibit some of the largest works of art,” Dolman said. “Were looking to have the same impact in New York as we do in London with our new space in Berkeley Square, which has transformed the market.”

Prior to joining Phillips, Dolman worked at the Qatar Museums Authority after serving as chairman of Christie’s International. During 27 years at Christie’s, he held various roles including managing director of Christie’s Europe, managing director of Christie’s Americas and managing director of Christie’s Amsterdam.

“People feel much more comfortable compared with when I started in the business going back those generationally wealthy grandiose families,” said Dolman. “Sales in London at Christie’s and Sotheby’s were fantastically intimidating. That has changed dramatically with the spirit of contemporary art sales. I’m cautious of saying that the art market has been democratized, because it’s still expensive. Fashion houses have seen this, and the worlds of fashion and art are colliding now whether we like it or not. Artists themselves, whether consciously or not, have become brands in the art world. People in the art market are now so used to being excited by brand names. Younger generations are more comfortable with brand recognition. KAWS is an assumed name and an assumed identity, and then he produces characterizations that are inspires by cartoons. They way the younger collectors see the world is through images, like seeing the world through emojis.”

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Obama’s Portraitist Challenges Napoleon’s Painter

Arts, Europe, Featured, Global, Headlines, TerraViva United Nations

Artist Kehinde Wiley discusses his work. Credit: A. D. McKenzie/IPS

PARIS, Oct 11 2019 (IPS) – Fresh from unveiling a huge statue of a black man on horseback in New York’s Times Square, renowned African American artist Kehinde Wiley flew to France this week to “meet” 18th-century French painter Jacques-Louis David.

Wiley – most known for painting the portrait of US President Barack Obama in 2017 – is now “sharing a room” with David, who lived from 1748 to 1825 and was a painter and supporter of French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte.

In an exhibition titled “Wiley Meets David”, the American artist’s massive and colourful 2005 painting Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps can for the first time be viewed opposite David’s 1800 depiction Bonaparte Crossing the Great St. Bernard Pass (Le Premier Consul franchissant le col du Grand-Saint-Bernard), in a show that runs until Jan. 6, 2020.

“There’s lots of chest beating going on … that’s why when you look closely at my painting, you’ll see sperm cells swimming across the surface,” said Wiley at the Oct. 9 opening of the exhibition. “This is masculinity boiled down to its most essential component. All of this stuff, warfare, is about egos, about nationhood, about the formation of society.”

The two works of powerful-looking men on horseback are presented “in dialogue” at the imposing Château de Malmaison, just outside Paris. This is the former residence of French Empress Joséphine, which she shared with Bonaparte before they divorced in 1809.

Wiley’s painting comprises a reinterpretation of David’s portrait, and it is the first in his series “Rumors of War”, where African American subjects replace the historically mighty in a questioning of warfare and inequality. Here, a model named Williams is on horseback, in the same pose as David’s Napoleon, but wearing contemporary urban gear and a golden cloak. In contrast, David’s depiction was a “symbol of the glory of Bonaparte” when it was produced in 1800, according to the show’s curators.

Wiley stressed that his work was meant to make people of African descent visible in ways that they haven’t been in the history of art. But he added that despite the aura of power in his painting, he was also portraying “fragility”, even amidst certain social advances.

Wiley arrives at the Château de Malmaison with associates. Credit: A. D. McKenzie

“I want to caution us against a facile acceptance,” Wiley said. “These steps that we’re moving forward with, I prize greatly, but I also recognize their fragility. As powerful as that young man looks on that horse, it’s not his power that I’m concerned about, but rather his fragile position within that culture … that relegates artists like myself to even need to make utterances like the ones that I’ve done.”

Before being brought to France, Wiley’s painting had been exhibited for years at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the current show is a joint project between this museum and the Château de Malmaison.

After the exhibition in France, both paintings will be on display in Brooklyn, from Jan. 24 to May 10, 2020. David’s work is therefore returning to the United States, where it had spent time in New Jersey in the 1800s as part of the property of Napoleon’s brother Joseph.

“The partnership with the Brooklyn Museum will provide an opportunity to shed light on the current practices of North American museums with regard to groups of artists who have been overlooked in history and the history of art, and their links to audience development,” said Emmanuel Delbouis, a co-curator of the exhibition.

For Wiley, 42 years old, it’s high time for a change in the narrative regarding the contributions of people who have traditionally been excluded from mainstream stories. He said it was not a “trend” or a “movement” that so many artists of African descent are now focusing on historical issues affecting people of colour.

“We have been able and capable of contributing to the larger conversation globally, and now these conversations are happening,” he said during the exhibition’s press opening. “I think perhaps the culture is evolving. So, it’s not a trend … it’s simply another human voice being paid attention to.”

He said his painting was a criticism of colonialism and a challenge to its legacy, but that it was also an “embrace” of French art and David’s talent.

Wiley, who rose to fame with the portrait of Obama, has seen his artistic impact grow, both in the United States and internationally. He has held several exhibitions in France, and before the opening of this latest show, the unveiling of his 27-foot-high statue in Times Square, on Sept. 27, garnered global attention.

That work, his first public sculpture, will be on view at the famed square for several weeks before being permanently installed at the entrance to the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, in Richmond, Virginia. It is being shown at the same time as the painting in France, sparking dialogue on both sides of the Atlantic about history and who gets to be celebrated in public monuments.

“We’re standing on the leading edge of story-telling, arguably on the leading edge of propaganda,” Wiley said in France. “Art has for centuries been at the service of churches, of state, of powerful men. And now artists have the ability to take that language and do what they will with it.

“So what am I doing? I’m engaging that language in a way that says ‘yes’ to certain things and ‘no’ to others,” he added. “The culture evolves, but we’re stuck here together, and we have to figure out how we’re gonna evolve together.”

This article is published in an arrangement with Southern World Arts News. Follow on Twitter: @mckenzie_ale

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Futurist charts course for Asheville and Buncombe County

Rebecca Ryan isn’t a household name in Buncombe County. And why would she be? A resident of Madison, Wis., and a frequent flyer who consults with organizations and local governments around the country, Ryan spends more of her time powwowing in big-city conference rooms and attending think-tank discussions than she does exploring communities like Leicester, Weaverville or Black Mountain.

But while most Western North Carolina residents wouldn’t know her from Adam, Ryan’s spent the past year and change learning quite a bit about us. Over a series of monthly visits that stretch back to last summer, the consultant has trained her sometimes unnervingly intense gaze on the future of Asheville and Buncombe County. She’s been leading the creation of three important plans — the AVL Greater vision plan, the AVL 5×5 2025 economic development plan and a strategic plan for the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners — during a period of local change she describes as the most profound she’s seen anywhere in her career. 

Xpress has followed Ryan’s progress in WNC over the past 16 months. As she wrapped up her work on the AVL Greater and AVL 5×5 2025 plans in late September, we chatted about her upcoming encore keynote address at the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce’s WomanUP gala on Thursday, Nov. 18, what makes Asheville and Buncombe County different and how we’ll know if the area is on track to make good on the new strategies.

Women rising

After delivering the keynote at last year’s WomanUP celebration, “I thought I was off the hook,” Ryan says. But local event organizers had other ideas, inviting her back for a second appearance this November. While the details of her talk remain under wraps, she teases a couple of the themes she plans to address.

“The suffrage movement is 100 years old this year,” Ryan notes. “It will be a nice opportunity to look back and look ahead.” She will also examine the impact of the anti-sexual assault and women’s empowerment #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, looking at recent examples of social change like same-sex marriage legalization for clues to anticipate potentially lasting shifts in gender dynamics. 

Much of Ryan’s practice focuses on work for chambers of commerce, economic development partnerships and local government agencies, so she follows research on municipal governance. She cites a recent study on the financial performance of local governments in five Southwestern states that found that, “In local governments where women are the CEOs, you are far more likely to have a AAA bond rating for the government.”

While acknowledging that former Buncombe County Manager Wanda Greene achieved a AAA bond rating while “raping the county,” Ryan nonetheless posits that financial markets are beginning to consider the gender of top managers in their search for “safe money.”

“If Wall Street can put more money into bond markets where women are leading the municipalities, that is going to do a ton for how we think about women CEOs, how we think about women leaders,” she says. Pointing to local female executives like Avril Pinder, Buncombe’s new county manager, and Debra Campbell, Pinder’s counterpart at the city of Asheville, Ryan thinks the area’s gender game is strong.

“I’ve only worked with one other community [Minnetonka, Minn.] where there have been women in so many important positions,” Ryan reveals. While she cautions against focusing too heavily on gender-based stereotypes, she continues, “Generally, women tend to be very collaborative: less competition-oriented and more collaboration-oriented. And for this region, that’s going to be a great thing.” 

Winds of change

Considering the number and extent of the organizational transitions the area has seen since she began working here in June 2018, Asheville and Buncombe County need all the advantages they can muster, Ryan says.