Interview with Qiana Mestrich by Kathy Akey

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Tell me about the title of your show.

I’ve always been interested in how metaphors are used in daily language. If you break the phrase down, another definition of the word “dead” means “precise,” like “dead center”. The word “ringer” comes from a 19th-century horse racing term used to describe a horse substituted for another of similar appearance and trotted around as a way to way to defraud the bookies.

So the term “dead ringer” means “exact duplicate” and is typically used when referring to one person’s likeness to another. When thinking about this term in relation to my show, I took artistic license to think of how the term “dead ringers” could apply not just to people but things too. For example, the flesh-colored stockings used in my installation are manufactured to be dead ringers for a woman’s skin tone.

Further relating this conceptual idea to the photographs of mugshots of women all named “Qiana”, the title/term “Dead Ringers” for me also instigated thoughts about the practices behind (offender and racial) profiling.

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