This past week, I had the privilege to collaborate with an incredible group of woman artists here in Minnesota for Black Magik Woman, an annual all female art showcase featured during Minnesota's Spring/Summer Fashion Week. Through collaborative images and art pieces, visual artists are paired with "muses" to create and install original artworks that "bring positivity to the view of the female form". My partner, Steph Guidera, an oil painter, and I collaborated on "Truth Be Told," a portrait series on confronting the white male gaze. Through the power of context provided by women creators, the project was to portray historically marginalized subjects with the regality and traditional aesthetics, but not traditional approach, to portrait art. From a series of images I made with our two muses, Vilay and Sierra, Steph painted two portraits that resembled 19th century Daguerreotypes, and thereafter I printed and mounted two other images that provided environmental context for their postures and expressions. We reasoned that the art world expects female subjects to either be overtly sexual or fragile, both played out cliches that don't speak to the modern women. Ultimately, our goal was to address the static ideas of the female form in portraiture that removes any humanizing qualities that give a subject enough agency to enforce their individual personality.
To view the rest of the project, click here. To see a recap of the evening, check out polaroids captured by photographer Patience Zalanga below: