Note: This is the third installment of WCBS 880’s Black History Month series.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)– Most of Nona Faustine’s photographic self-portraits show her naked and alone at a courthouse, a farmhouse, a graveyard: some location associated with New York’s past as a slave-owning city.

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“Public nudity in New York City is illegal, you could be arrested, it’s a misdemeanor crime. But at the same time, I also wanted to reclaim these spaces, call attention to them,” Faustine told WCBS 880’s Jane Tillman Irving.

One such space is the site of the city’s 18th century slave market, at Wall and Water Streets.

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The photograph is jarringly different, though, because Faustine is seen standing in the intersection, posed as if for a buyer’s inspection, surrounded by modern Manhattan. The backdrop of a yellow cab, parked cars, bike stands and traffic lights all incorporate modern elements while shedding light on New York’s history with slavery.

Faustine’s work will be on display at a group exhibition called “Constellation” at The Studio Museum of Harlem.


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