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Vanishing Point (30" x 40", pencil and ink, 1997) Scroll Down

The vanishing point is a metaphor for the often-overlooked inequality among the races.

A discussion of Nikolai Buglaj’s Racial Optical Illusion (30" x 40", pencil and ink, 1997):

“In another example, the artist Nikolai Buglaj has transformed a classical example of an optical illusion created by a shift in the context in which objects are perceived into a commentary on race relations in the United States (Fig. 22).

 The three figures in this piece are all the same size (if you don’t believe it, measure them for yourself), but because the figure outside the room is, in effect, contextless, he looks small.

 The figure entering the room appears to be larger, and the figure inside the room appears largest of all. The surrounding walls alter the relative scale in which each figure is perceived.

The wall of the room is decorated with an American flag, and it represents, for Buglaj, the “system” from which African Americans are excluded, thus making them appear smaller than they are. Conversely, from the outside looking in, the white man appears larger than he really is.”

 From “Writing about Art” by Henry Sayre (Prentice Hall)

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