Botanical Portraiture. Portfolio.
This collection of pieces is comprised of portraits executed in either watercolor or pastel with a deliberately chosen flora motif in the background of each piece.
My reasons for creating this collection are twofold. On the surface, this project was borne from my love of ethereal, classically executed floral paintings of women by artists such as William Holman Hunt and John Singer Sargent. However, I did not see myself represented as a black woman in these classical works. I wanted to create a body of work that depicted black women in a classically beautiful and non-exoticizing way.
My second reason for creating this collection is in reaction to the many aggressive stereotypes that are thrust upon black women as a group in contemporary society. In this collection, the flora motifs in each piece have been carefully chosen to represent the unique and dynamic personalities of my models. In the drafting stages of each piece, I interviewed each model, and asked each to describe herself as a person. The traits the models used to describe themselves ranged from loyalty, optimism, altruism, selflessness, to name a few. In this collection, the models are painted as they see themselves while the surrounding plants symbolize the traits the models described. Traits such as nobility, empathy, and determination, subvert the stereotypes that black women are so often pegged into.
I want this collection to celebrate the beauty and diversity of black women by painting these women as they see themselves. We are not comprised of the stereotypes attributed to us, nor are we a monolith.