I used to work in a small antique store selling mostly books. It's gone now.
My job was to make the storage and stock more accessible. As a result I went home with boxes of amazing books from anywhere between 1750 and 1990.
Some unsellable retro porn trash, some beautiful, bound fashion-catalogues, that had mold on them and finally several, severely damaged illustrated pages from a book on different tribal cultures around the world.
The three men in my painting are a direct quote from a page on Java's native tribes- and farmculture. I replaced all three faces from another page, turning them into bewildered looking brothers, glaring back at the viewer, everyone equally puzzled. I felt that the face I chose was exemplary of most, within the many pages of said books. An annoyed and interrupted expression. I felt like an intruder, i had no clue of their culture and just started assuming what their tools where for or what colour schemes and patterns they might have developed. So relying on what felt good I painted, all the while reading up on how xenophobia and the idea of racial classification by Kant and Blumenbach in the 18th Century. The painting is an awkward confession of superficial knowledge and that's why it's good.