Wayne and his wife, Mary Ann, have been very generous monthly benefactors to Hogar de Mi Hermano in Esquipulas, Guatemala, since the time Sr. Moira Noonan, CCVI, R. I.P., was the administrator at the Home, 1989-2001. Wayne’s painting, “Stand in My Shoes” was selected to be included in 2021 “Embracing Our Differences” exhibit. Winning selections were chosen from 15,912 entries received from 128 countries around the world and exemplify the theme “enriching lives through diversity and inclusion.” All winning selections will be displayed in Sarasota, Florida’s Bayfront Park January 20 through April 1, 2021.
My painting “Stand in My Shoes” illustrates a young black girl wearing the iconic “Mary Jane” shoes with bobby socks, which were traditionally advertised, since 1904 to the present day, as dress shoes for little white girls. The subliminal message of the painting is, “My shoes and socks are like yours and I am like you.”
While the content of the painting consists predominately of the familiar classic shoes and socks, it is the suggestion of a black child wearing the shoes and socks that symbolizes her universality of representing all young girls and challenges the white iconic commercial stereotype. Manufacturers have only recently begun to acknowledge their role in perpetuating institutionalized racism in advertising, as evidenced by the removal of a long-standing black stereotype product labeling. Products such as “Aunt Jemima” pancake mix and “Uncle Ben’s” rice have been re-branded. At first glance “Stand in My Shoes” may seem to be just a bold and simple realistic painting of classic black “Mary Jane” shoes and white socks. Now take a second glance and reconcile who is standing in them.