In the 1980's and 90's, professional wrestler, Hulk Hogan was a cultural phenomenon in the US and beyond. His gigantic muscular physique and immensely proud patriotic persona captivated audiences; with iconic quotes such as “say your prayers, eat your vitamins” becoming synonymous with Hogan.
In 2015 video recordings from 2007 revealed the man behind the ‘Hulk Hogan’ character, using explicitly racist speech and slurs in a casual manner; suggesting this American icon may not truly be the beacon of positivity that he was known as. This duality of the real life human being, Terry Bollea, holding such prejudicial views against black people, made me consider the way that black athletes are portrayed in modern society.
Often black athletes seem to be reduced to being heralded as physical specimens as opposed to skillful practitioners in their fields. This subtle distinction between athletic prowess and technical or intellectual ability serves only to perpetuate the marginalisation of ethnic minorities in the Western world.
To this day Hulk Hogan encapsulates the idea of being the pinnacle of masculinity; thus I adopted one of his most recognisable poses from his career with his signature facial hair & balding locs within this self portrait. This work looks to question how we consider such charismatic contemporary figures, is it possible and is it just to separate the television persona from the man, who on videotape openly referred to himself as a racist.