Stand in My Shoes

By: Wayne Ramirez

Venice, Florida

Artist Statement

My painting illustrates a young Black girl wearing the iconic “Mary Jane” shoes with bobby socks. From 1904 to the present, these shoes have been traditionally advertised as dress shoes for little white girls. The painting’s subliminal message is: “My shoes and socks are like yours and I am like you.” Having a Black child wearing the shoes and socks makes her a universal symbol representing all young girls and the challenges they face from iconic commercial stereotypes created by the white-dominated advertising world. Manufacturers have only recently begun to acknowledge their role in perpetuating institutionalized racism in advertising. At first glance, “Stand in My Shoes” may seem to be just a realistic painting. But take a second glance and consider who is standing in them.