Artwork / Apple Pie / Why the Wabbit Wears White Gloves (Zimbabwean-American, Loveness)

Bugs Bunny, an American icon
Gwenn Seemel
Why the Wabbit Wears White Gloves (Zimbabwean-American, Loveness)
acrylic on seersucker
36 x 24 inches

Various kinds of rabbits seem to be something of a theme for me. Besides the version of Bugs shown here, there are these common rabbits for Crime Against Nature as well as this portrait of an actor in character as Br’er Rabbit.

In fact, that last rabbit has a lot to do with the Wabbit depicted here. Bugs Bunny has his origins in Br’er Rabbit’s stories, which, for their part, go back to the trickster hare figure of African mythology.

And the link between Bugs and the Slave Trade in America doesn’t end there. As emancipated slaves moved to Northern cities in the 1800s looking for a better life and better work, poor Irish immigrants had a hard time dealing with the competition in the job market. Some of these disaffected Celts invented Minstrelsy, using traditional Irish dances and stereotypes of plantation blacks to entertain and to play on people’s fear of change.

The original white Minstrels covered their faces and necks with burnt cork, but didn’t have make-up durable enough to hide their pink hands. White gloves were the workaround, and they became a staple of American entertainment and part of the Wabbit’s distinctive look.

Below is the subject’s answer to this question: what does it mean to be an American?

To be American is to sit on the Gold mine and cry of hunger. Or it is to have your feet in the water and cry of thirst.

- Loveness

painterly portrait
detail image