Michelangelo’s “The Creation of Adam” is one of the most famous works of art ever created, and no one would argue with that.
However, when Harmonia Rosales, the Chicago-based Afro-Cuban painter decided to create her own version of “The Creation of Adam” in 2017, she received a lot of backlashes. The reason? She reimagined God and the First Man as a black woman.
The New York Post reported that her version depicts the deity not as a white-haired man, but as a black woman, reaching to touch another black woman.
However, even though her painting attracted thousands of likes on social media when she posted it, it also sparked a lot of controversy. Many critics described her work as “disgusting”, a “desecration of an artistic masterpiece” and a “cultural appropriation”.
Rosales said at the time that she wanted to take a significant painting, a painting that is widely recognized and consciously or subconsciously conditions us to see whiter male figures as powerful and authoritative and she wanted to flip the script and establish a counter-narrative.
She added that white figures are a staple in classic art featured in major museums, and they are the “masters” of masterpieces. According to her, it only makes sense to paint God as a black woman because all human life came out of Africa, the Garden of Eden and all.
Still, the idea of a black female God got many people angry, and some people even criticized her for basing her painting on Michelangelo’s work, rather than creating something new.