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In 2003 the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane University in New Orleans commissioned Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) to create a piece in response to the impending bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase. Comprising over seventy separate photographs and screen prints, a video, and a live performance by the artist at its debut, The Louisiana Project examines both the distant past of slaveholding, antebellum Louisiana and its recent present, characterized by economic crisis and racial segregation. This essay interprets the project through theories of focalization and asks the viewer to see through the artist in multiple ways.

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