re(IMAGE)ing Black Femme Art

“Don’t fear the light

That dwells deep within

You are powerful

Beyond what you imagine

Just let your light glow”


Undervalued labor has been, and remains, a blight on the collective history of black women in America. This has been the case whether it be in the recognition of the historical contributions black women, and black people in general, have been forced to offer to the nation, or in the inherent work of dismantling oppressive depictions of black women in an attempt to create new, liberating ones.

In acknowledging this, one must also acknowledge the ways in which modern creative work by black female artists can be reduced to its conclusion, the final piece, without consideration for the minutia of the work’s genesis and evolution.

Art by black women offers the viewer, listener, follower, two stories: the story constructed in the piece itself, and the story of the piece’s construction.

In this exhibit, we have selected three pieces which, by their very nature, make significant calls to this latter story, this story of broken pencil lead, sandpaper, shattered glass, and splattered paint. In “reading” these works as multilayered creations, the invisible emotional, physical, and psychological labor of the artist becomes potent and memorable.

Please click the lyrics at the bottom of each page to navigate through the exhibit. Click the lyrics at the top to navigate backwards.

“Opportunity knockin’….”