Philadelphia artist Laurie Cooper is known for her striking images of Face Realities. A face of a Black woman wearing a white mask, with obvious shame or agony on her face while the mask is partially shedding off her, is compelling enough to launch discussions and bring in different points of view. In the male version of Face Reality, the man shows apparent anger in his face at wearing the white mask and is peeling it off – more liberating, as the artist describes the whole Reality series to be a process of liberation. Although the Face Reality series are more racially charged images, according to Cooper the first and original Reality piece had more of a spiritual meaning for her – the shedding of the old self, in the Christian sense.
Cooper went to the University of Arts for her bachelors and received her master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. After that, she has been publishing prints with Collectible Art and Frames, a publisher and distributor of popular African American art located in Center City, Philadelphia.