Art has the power to illuminate dark corners and show people the uncomfortable truths hidden in them. A new project from Paula Akpan and Harriet Evans aims to do just that. Described on the project’s Tumblr as “A project aiming to highlight the significance and lasting impact of everyday micro-aggressions and stereotypes,” “The ‘I’m Tired’ Project” features images of women and men with the stereotypes they are tired of carrying literally written on their weary backs. From race, to gender, to body image, to sexual identity, the images tackle issues that are both very personal and writ large in American society.
“When we are able to relate to a picture on a deeply personal level, it brings about almost a feeling of camaraderie because there is someone out there who understands exactly how you feel and has been able to articulate in a way that hopefully informs many others,” Akpan said in an interview with The Huffington Post.
Each of the 14 photos—the full collection is posted on Facebook—is accompanied by a deeper dive into the issue, as described by the person in the photo.
For the photo, “I’m tired of being the angry black woman,” the model shared:
I’m tired of my feelings being regarded as simply a consequence of my race. The reasons for my rage and my anger should not be pushed aside and belittled simply because of the colour of my skin. I am strong, I am opinionated, and sometimes, maybe, I’m a little quick to anger, but I will not conform to your stereotypes.
Ultimately, co-creator Evans says that she and Akpan hope the project helps people to not only connect, but see beyond their own baggage. “What is important to both Paula and myself is that someone is able to look at at least one of the pictures and either say ‘someone else is going through this too, it’s not just me, I am not alone.’ “Or for them to have their minds opened to the discrimination that they may not normally bear witness to, or may not have considered in the past.”
See the full collection of images here.