The First Twenty


Ma’s House clip: Microaggression

Indigenous artist Denise Silva-Dennis recounts a microaggression she faced in the art gallery scene in Southampton, New York.

AIRED: October 11, 2021 | 0:01:49

Silva-Dennis: I remember once this woman who owned an art gallery --

I believe it was on Main Street,

right in Southampton.

So we had made arrangements

that a couple of my beadwork pieces,

I think maybe two or three,

would be in a jewelry case, kind of table display.

And then the night before the opening of the show,

which I had shared the information with postcards

for the advertisement with relatives in the city

and different friends and family --

so we were all going to go to the opening,

and she said -- called and said,

"Well, I'm sorry to say, but other people have come in,

announced closer to the season,

when all these different people come out

from New York City for the summer.

I have these other people,

other artists from New York City who are coming out,

so we're going to have to bump you.

You know, you won't be in the opening.

It's not going to happen."

So then I said to her,

"Well, I have all these people coming in.

Are you telling me this the night before?"

When it came time for the opening,

my mother and my sister and I went to the gallery

and we showed up in our full regalia

and we shared the story of how I was just bumped

and it was just going to be here,

you know, for that one night,

and then I have to remove my things.

So all her patrons actually learned of that mistreatment,

and I actually sold a couple of pieces,

and then I had, like, a little bit of a following then.

But it's just that whole thing of getting your story out.

And you know, I've learned the term --

it's a microaggression when people do, you know,

things like that, it could be perceived that way.


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