We hope you enjoyed our first selection of women creators. Today we continue with our final 5. Although we chose 30 this is by no means a definitive list, but a taster of the great work that we’ve come across and have been inspired by in recent years.
If you are reading this, you probably already appreciate how art captures what everyday language alone cannot express. For centuries, women across the world have used art as a tool to express their own radical truths despite the boxes, expectations or limitations other would impose on us and have us conform to. It’s in this spirit of freedom that The:nublk, African & Afro-Diasporan Art Talks and Live Unchained have come together to acknowledge 30 inspiring black women creators from across the diaspora.
We believe their art matters and can inspire cultural consumers to view themselves, their communities and women’s voices in new ways. The artists and creative works you’ll see over the next week are unique, provocative and captivating. Like the three organizers of this event, Kathryn, Sharon and myself, we know you won’t want to keep all this beauty to yourself. So, please spread the word and comment to let us know what you think!
Laylah Amatulla Barrayn
Photographer and Brooklynite Laylah Amatullah Barrayn’s striking work comes from her passion for documentary style work infused with portraiture to create images and present them for the world to engage with. Her fourth solo show entitled ‘You May Sit Beside Me: Visual Narratives of Black Women and Queer Identities’ looks at identity and the complexities within the LGBTQ community with a focus on Black women who identify as queer.
A seasoned world traveller, Barrayan’s next project will consist of a series documenting the Mourides of Senegal, specifically the Baye Fall and their aesthetics. The Mourides who are Muslims, embrace a sufi perspective and have a very distinct practice of the religion which is based on their spiritual leader, Ibrahima Fall.
“I’m inspired by freedom and the need to always want to highlight the beauty of being free and our right to that fantastic feeling. I’m inspired by issues of social justice and change. I like to educate and disseminate information through images. I love to tell the stories of the individuals of African descent. As we thrive and survive throughout the diaspora, I feel the world needs to know about our journey.”
Brazilian born photographer Angélica Dass is most well known for her project Humanae which she created soon after completing a Masters in Photography in 2009. The Humanæ project is based on a series of portraits whose background is dyed with the exact Pantone® tone extracted from a sample of 11×11 pixels of the subjet’s face. The project’s objective is to record and catalog all possible human skin tones. Dass created the collection of photographs to highlight the world’s subtle-continuous tones that make us more equal than different.
To date the photographs for the project which is volunteer led have been taken in Madrid, Barcelona, Rio de Janeiro, Paris and Chicago. The collection of 2,000 images have been featured in favelas, art galleries and also the headquarters of UNESCO. Dass’s next will be a journey from the beauty salon in the photographer’s hometown in Brazil, at age six, to the present Latin and African hairdressers in Madrid, searching for expectations, patterns and realities between the countries.
“I understand photography to be a dialogue from personal to global; like a game in which the personal and social codes are put at stake to be reinvented, a continuous flow between the photographer and the photographed, a bridge between masks and identities. For this reason, I use my work as a tool for exploration, questioning and searching for identity for myself and others.”
Currently completing a Textiles degree at the prestigious Central St Martins School of Art, London based artist Kay Davis is an artist whose work and personal style exude a form of exciting self expression we love. Her work which ranges from vibrant knitwear pieces to photography and dreamlike paintings.
“Time is important to me. I often find it hard to let go of my childhood and nostalgia plays a big part in my life. It also contributes to the way I see colour. As we get older it’s as if we get scared of enjoying colour and tone down, not for our selves but to comfort others. I like to remind people to not let go of that inner kid and I like to push that into my work.”
Charysse Tia Harper
Charysse Tia Harper is documentary filmmaker best known for the award-winning film The Other Side of Carnival (2010), which focuses on the island of Trinidad & Tobago. The documentary explores the country’s Carnival and the social and economic impacts the event has on the country.
Harper directed and produced She is a 12 Months, a 64-minute documentary about a Los Angeles man (Tony) who rented his home for the entire year of 2013 for $1 per month to help a family in transitional housing. He never met the family, but offered his 3-bedroom home to give the family a chance to get on their feet. The story follows Felicia Dukes and her four children as they are in Tony’s home, as well as explores the impact that generosity has on the community.
“People and their stories inspire the themes in my work. I feel that at the core, I am a journalist; I just happen to tell a story visually and for a longer length (than something you would see on the news). If I find a story is interesting to me and can change someone else’s perspective on a topic, I would be more inclined to do a documentary on that. Everyone has a story to tell – I am just fortunate enough to be able to tell it.”
Born and raised in Barbados, artist Sheena Rose’s work ranges through a variety of mediums including painting, collage and performance art. She is also the founder of Projects & Space, an online artists collective which now has over 1,000 members.
Best known for her work depicting the humourous commentary often heard in the Caribbean ‘Sweet Gossip’ depicts a side of Caribbean culture many may not see. Through her work Rose shakes stereotypes of what ‘Caribbean art’ looks like. Having undertaken a number of artist residencies around the world Roses work served as the cover art for recently published book, ‘See Me Here’ where her work was featured alongside other prominent artists from the Caribbean.
“Through my work, especially with Sweet Gossip, I was inspired by every day life in Barbados. I find these spaces interesting and use my art as a way to share this with those who see my work. I feel it’s important for me to showcase relatable work in the countries that I create art and to also give people who are not from these countries the opportunity to have a glimpse of what life there is like.“