Self-Portraits is an exploration of Black womanhood, Black subjectivity and ideations of beauty through my psychological and physical relationship to the camera.
Over the past five years, these portraits have become a means for me to construct a sense of self and create a narrative of emotional, physical, and psychic space through my development of a specific and vulnerable relationship to the camera.
Filmmaker Arthur Jafa argued in My Black Death that once African sculptures, masks, and talismans reached Europe in the early 20th century, Europeans chose to “understand these artifacts as creative distortions rather than accept the existence of human beings so radically different in appearance from them.”
This is an attitude that has been applied to Black bodies as well as the product and labor created by Black people. Since then, Black women’s bodies specifically have often been defined as creative distortions; vulgar affronts to “true” femininity and womanhood.
By taking up space on a large scale — as several of these Mylar, laminate, and pigment prints are between three to five feet wide and five feet high — I am reclaiming my agency and proclaiming my right as a Black woman to both self-definition and self- determination.