The female figure is a consistent subject depicted in art. Despite the changes in style, technique, and socio-political climate, women remain a favored subject to portray or include. The woman, in her depiction, is made to represent something (a feeling or message) or someone (as in her occupation or social class) in the way that she is rendered. The artist can intentionally affect the way that the viewer feels or thinks upon observation of the piece. The artist can provoke the viewer into thinking along the same lines of the creator or even to question the intention of the very message being communicated.
This idea, of having the ability to influence another person's mind indirectly is empowering. As an artist having some control over how the pieces’ influences observers push me to use this newfound "power" to my advantage. If my work can contain a message for the audience that it draws in, why not center the conversation on a community that I am a part of? Why not make my artwork a conversation starter on topics surrounding the Black community? Why not focus on the Black woman? These, I feel, are not questions asked often. When I am creating, this idea helps me to be intentional or at least conscious of what I am trying to portray. This idea teaches me to pay attention to how I feel, as a Black woman, but more importantly as an individual with her own thoughts and ideas.
By acknowledging the connection that the physical body has with the mind, whether I choose to clearly represent the female form or not, I aim to help viewers sense that this relationship exists. It exists between the subject and the way they (or it) is depicted, the colors chosen and the way that they are applied to the surface. That connection exists in that way because of how I decided to create what I did and how the viewer has interpreted these things to be. Being able to communicate and stimulate thought-provoking conversations in my art means that I can possibly encourage these kinds of conversations in the future. Written works by Octavia Butler, inspire futuristic themes to mingle with classical landscape scenery in my work. Her works are able to extend outside her community, while also enticing conversation within it.
I hope that by making the Black female the subject of my oil paintings and drawings, I can empower the communities that I am a part of to challenge the stereotypes that impact them overtly and covertly, consciously and subconsciously, physically and mentally. As my work focuses on Black women and the narratives that are often pushed onto them, I try to portray women of color in spaces and settings that they are usually not seen in or placed into. Questions regarding Black females: their bodies, their hair, their roles, and their innocence are constantly being fitted with new viable answers.
How many of the answers to these questions am I giving outright in my pieces and how many are the deductions made by the outliers and observers? These answers I hope to discover in my artistic exploration of the Black woman; through the creation of my work and through the conversations that they start.