November 5, 2013
A part-time artist is attracting controversy for his photos in which petite white women are draped around his neck as scarves.
Nate Hill, 36, is a self-described performance artist. The New Yorker’s latest stunt, titled Trophy Scarves, is intended to draw attention to the social complexities surrounding mixed-race relationships.
Hill says that the act of posing in a tuxedo with nearly-naked women around his neck is meant to draw attention to an ‘issue in the public now about black men who might think of being with white women as a status symbol,’ he told MailOnline.
The project began four months ago, he says, with both professional photographs as well as a series of Instagram mirror selfies.
Hill has already amassed over 7,500 Instagram followers to his account @TrophyScarves.
His images are intended to provoke an extreme reaction which he hopes will ‘inspire self-examination,’ in the minds of the photos’ viewers.
‘I don’t want to tell people what to do with their lives,’ Hill said of the racial issue to which he is trying to drawing attention. ‘I just hope they would examine their motives, that’s all.’
Hill himself is the child of a black father and white mother, making the issues associated with Trophy Scarves feel ‘close to home,’ he says.
He added that ‘I am not really black, I’m half black but I don’t really identify as black.’
For that reason, Hill says that he feels like he is role playing when working on the Trophy Scarves series.
‘For me its role playing, I’m playing the role of a black man,’ he told us.
According to Hill, the experience is also one of role playing for his white female subjects too.
‘I just assume she is playing the role of a white woman,’ he said of the models’ work, also adding ‘What difference does it make about me or how I feel about the models, the more important thing is the issue in the public now about black men who might find white woman to be a status symbol.’
But more than a racial issue, Hill’s scarf images have drawn blowback from the feminist community as well.
Social media responses to his project currently range from ‘F****** disgusting,’ to ‘How the f*** would y’all be reacting if it was a white man “wearing” a black woman?