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Highlighting the Voices of Black Women


#BlackBlossomsExhibit #BBExhibits #UALShowroom


Black Blossoms Exhibition Events A schedule of events will accompany the exhibition including a Black Blossoms Summer Conference on 20 August. For more information please visit: www.blackblossoms.org

Shades of Noir Shades of Noir have kindly supported production of the exhibition catalogue.

UAL Showroom UAL Showroom collects, selects, shows and sells the best art, design and ideas from all creative disciplines across the University to profile and promote our talented students and graduates for work opportunities, commissions and sales. The Showroom is a creative space that hosts a range of exhibitions, displays, pop-up shops, talks and events, all highlighting UAL’s enterprising successes. Search ‘UAL Showroom’ for more details.

Sponsored by EIP

UAL Showroom University of the Arts London 272 High Holborn London WC1V 7EY Opening times*: Monday to Friday 9am – 8pm Saturday to Sunday 9am – 6pm *may vary outside of term time showroom@arts.ac.uk www.arts.ac.uk/about-ual/ual-showroom #UALShowroom #BlackBlossomsExhibit #BBExhibits

EIP is a leading firm of intellectual property attorneys and solicitors. It advises on all aspects of intellectual property law from its UK offices in London, Bath, Cardiff and Leeds, its US office in San Diego, California, and its German office in Düsseldorf. The understanding and protection of intellectual property is integral to the advancement and growth of creative industries in the UK. EIP is proud that its sponsorship of the UAL Showroom will help the artists and designers of the future to showcase their works and ideas. www.eip.com


The Black Blossoms Exhibition celebrates and highlights the voices of Black Women, a group which is often invisible, silenced and oppressed in society. Through film, photography and illustration recent UAL graduates have explored the intersections of gender and race and identity. This exhibition challenges and deconstructs stereotypes in order to re-establish an authentic and inclusive narrative of Black Womanhood. The exhibition has been curated by Education Officer (15-16) and Black Blossoms founder Bee Tajudeen.

I dedicate the Black Blossoms Exhibition to Star, may you always have the courage and support to be your self.


BLACK BLOSSOMS STATEMENT Black Women are speaking up. Black Women are no longer invisible. Black Women are not afraid to shine. Black Women are unapologetically loving themselves. Black Women are championing their sisters. Black Women are tearing down the oppressive racist and patriarchal system which is enforced upon them. Black Women are Blossoming


AZARRA AMOY. London College of Communication azarraamoy.com

Spider Women Black Mothers are Superheroes I am a London based artist working predominately with traditional and mixed media. Through my work, I have the ability to articulate desired moods, messages and concepts. I am constantly creating projects and concepts to push my art to different boundaries inspired by everyday life, fashion, music and films from my childhood.


CARA BROWN. London College of Communication caraisbrown.com

Picky My work explores society’s relationship with race and ethnicity. It centres on Black women’s relationship with their hair. I want to raise questions about the nature of identity and its complex historical and symbolic associations with hair and the significance of this within Black culture. The work includes a series of images and objects that explore ideas around Black hair. I created the piece to encourage Black women to embrace their natural hair and to document and explore Black women’s feelings towards the state of their hair and why they wear their hair the way they do. Whether they wear their hair in its natural state or cover it with a wig, the project aims not to expose, but to show how important hair can be in Black culture, whether as an aesthetic choice or a political statement.


DIANA BURTON. Chelsea College of Arts

‘Always There’ These works are inspired by my first meeting with my mother’s sisters in Jamaica. The pieces reference the humble family photo ‘snap’ as a prominent slice of history in time. The presentation of the family ‘snap’ as a plaque refers to the discovery of an important archaeological find; a reminder that Black Women were always (t)here. Even though my mother was apart from her sisters for over 30 years, the work refers to a diasporic connection that neither time nor space can diminish. Exploring the familiar, I was impacted by the ties which were evident in their dress, gait, stance and colourful linguistic expressions. My mother loved Paisley, and I was struck by the amount of it her sisters wore in Jamaica too. I have therefore explored clothing as signifier of socio-economic conditions, identity and lived experiences. Inspiration was also drawn from the bell hooks quote, “Wherever Black Women are in the world we eat yam”. The work features hidden motifs of yam in the Paisley pattern. The political history of Paisley is considered in some of the works as a reminder of the appropriation of the material culture of ‘Others’ into Western culture thus foregrounding the imperialistic values of Colonialism.


DIONNE D WARD. Camberwell College of Arts www.dionneward.com

Veiled Narrative My interest in folds came from observations of the melaninrich network of lines in my hands. Wanting to capture a depth and physicality in my study of skin, I began making work that got my hands dirty, using clay and fabric hardened with plasterbased media. This piece uses a net curtain I received from my mother and was shaped over a chair and a table, which I then removed, before flipping the whole piece upside down. The ceramic process reminds me of tasks my mum cast into my sister and I about how to maintain a Caribbean household; mixing, cleaning, cooking and adapting to British culture. You cannot force the material to act against its own rules, when it cures it cannot be changed and once I have removed the moulding objects the entire process can be taken for granted. Like the traditional role of the modern black woman in the home, chiselling an equality out of a blended culture of rigid traditionalism and burgeoning liberalism. My fabric acts as a shedding or casing of that presence over the domestic space, flipped on its head to explore the woman’s morphing role in our society.


FIONA JANE WALSH. Wimbledon College of Arts Fionajanewalsh.com

....With Thanks I make art to explore ideas about identity, beliefs, society and myself. My work is rooted in the reality of experience and I use my work to question myself and my perception of my place in a presumptuous society. I’m inspired by how art can provide new ways of seeing and thinking and its ability to make clear that the ‘self’ is a reality in flux. My work is predominately performative, using the body, design, choreography and technology as sites to explore feelings. I bring these elements together to make films and whilst I perform in a majority of my films, I retain a distinct anonymity by obscuring my face to allow the work to represent and regard more than just me. Making art is my way of having agency in the world, facilitating my compulsion to explore ideas and bring together all the varying influences in my life.


FRANCESCA COZIER. London College of Communication www.visually-sexy.com

W.O.C As a woman of colour my life experiences have been vastly different from those of my white friends and colleagues. I have never felt properly represented in the media. Growing up, I didn’t want to be Scary Spice. What was so scary about this black woman? Her ‘outrageous’ hair or her dark skin? This piece highlights how being constantly surrounded by whiteness affects young black girls. I work mainly within the medium of video. I am fascinated by the ‘issues’ that affect millennials, and have a keen desire to assist in the Fourth Wave Feminist movement. It is this that drives my practice.


HABIBA NABISUBI. Camberwell College of Arts osomulan.tumblr.com

Hair Taking full pride and ownership of what you choose to do with your hair can be viewed as a powerful and defiant act. Even more so for Black women who choose not to conform to Western standards of beauty. For hundreds of years, Black women have been stigmatised and ridiculed for their natural hair. The stereotype of Afro hair being ‘unmanageable’, and ‘unprofessional’, requiring Afro hair to be ‘ tamed’ or ‘contained’ now belies an outdated attitude. Black women are beginning to turn away from this damaging ideology and to embrace their natural hair. Racist notions of Black hair being ‘wild’ have lost their power, so liberating and empowering Black women. Afro hair is the most versatile on the planet and I cannot help but glow with pride at the ingenuity, creativity, and styles I see worn, twisted, braided, woven or locked loudly and proudly on the heads of black women today. The hashtags #SayHerName, BlackLivesMatter’, #CarefreeBlackGirl’ and #BlackGirlMagic have exploded on social media. Society as a whole needs to recognise this wonderfully positive and conscious movement as a transformative time in this history of Black womanhood. These pieces honour the endless possibilities of kinky, curly hair.


KUDZANAI-VIOLET HWAMI. Wimbledon College of Arts kudzanaiviolethwami.com

Yellow Fever Yellow Fever is a depiction of the future, in a town called Kwekwe in Zimbabwe, which references established cultures and traditions. Through memory, I have revisited a place and space which I encountered growing up in post-colonial Zimbabwe. Using an Afrofuturistic approach, memories are recalled and recreated to envision an African utopia. There is no space, place, or borders on the African continent. The Black body plays the central character in the painting, acting as the vehicle to express themes of sexuality, gender, spirituality, memory, and childhood. The aim is to re-frame and construct an alternative perspective of the Black Zimbabwean body. Having lived in South-Africa, Zimbabwe, and England, displacement and identity is a recurring theme in my work. I try to understand my Zimbabwean identity within the African Diaspora. The work can be read as autobiography. I have developed a growing interest in artists such as Takashi Murakami, Yue Minjun and Kaws and I am drawn to the childlike satirical characters in their work. Most of the imagery that appears in my paintings is particularly influenced by the growing popularity of subcultures, e.g. Afro-Punk and Grunge culture in Kenya and South Africa. Through my artwork, I hope to communicate ideas about and envision the future of Zimbabwe and the rest of Africa.


MELODIE HOLLIDAY. London College of Fashion and London College of Communication Alumni melodieholliday.weebly.com

Deptford In Sound I created Deptford in Sound after reading an article by Time Out Magazine which left a lasting impression upon me. The article was called “Why are the arts so white’?’ ‘It asked the question “Why, despite London’s impressive diversity, is most of our cultural output and audiences so dispiritingly white?’ At the time, I also rang a well-known arts venue in London to ask if I could show them my work and I was told that I have to be “chosen or selected”. Who would choose me I thought and for what audience. How does a person go about being chosen or selected? What special attributes do I need to have or possess? What is the criterior more than I make art do you like it or think it is relevant? I began to feel that to be “chosen” I would have to speak a language that I have never been versed in. I had not been taught this in schools or socially. I would have to find out how you become a “chosen”one. Deptford in Sound is simple it is about me walking around colourful and vibrant Deptford asking Bame people what they thought of art. I decided that I would give the people that I feel are often marginalised and on the fringes of society a voice and this is the result. Deptford in Sound does away with cultural apartheid the message really is simply access for all to the arts.


MIKELA HENRY-LOWE. Central Saint Martins mikelahenrylowe.weebly.com

My work focuses on representations of black women in society and social media. I focus on positive and celebratory images of black women that counter Western (mis)representations that portray overly sexualized black women, gold diggers, angry black women, jezebels etc. My aim is to reaffirm the self-worth of black women by creating portraiture exploring a modern day Queen Nefertiti. I create large scale portraits of black women from images on social media, such as Instagram, in order to translate the representation of black women and black culture into painting. I experiment with the placement of flattened areas against more painterly areas within the frame of the black woman. My work also incorporates geometric shapes in the background as well as on the skin of the figure. The images I work with are sections that will be transformed into brush marks of realism with sections of colourful patterns; the figure itself disappears. The colours come from African head wraps and textiles whose patterns, prints and intricate folds are always vibrant. I want to reflect that boldness in my portraits, which acrylics allow me to achieve, whereas using oil paints for skin tone provides a wider tonal range. Primarily, the artists that have influenced my work include Lina Iris Viktor, Kehinde Wiley, Awol Erizku, Njideka Akunyili and Crosby and Mickalene Thomas. They all portray black women positively by eschewing stereotype. Their works give the viewer a sense of pride centred on black woman regardless of the viewer’s gender. My work challenges European notions of beauty, i.e. fair skin and straight hair. When I make work I’m thinking about the politics of black beauty and black women’s hair. Therefore, the women I paint are mostly wearing their natural hair or head scarves. My intention is for these paintings to simply be themselves, as a reminder to other black women to simply be themselves and not what society portrays them ‘only’ to be.


MOLLY OFORI-MENSAH. London College of Communication moforimensah@gmail.com

A Dancer’s Philosophy (2014) Dance is seen as an art and a form of self-expression. My work is based on dancers and how they are portrayed in the studio. This piece is a continuation of my previous work called Through the Eyes of a Dancer, which was a series of photographs of dancers being portrayed in the studio. This moving image piece focuses on the strengths and weaknesses of female dancers. Perhaps the most important issue affecting these artists is their body image. I wanted to explore the thoughts of a hip-hop dancer, who had experience in being judged and in embracing body issues. This piece was inspired by Jacob Sutton, a British photographer and director. His recent works have included dancers from all genres. I admire the style of his moving image pieces, which have inspired my work by pushing me to further explore the role of the dancer.


NICOLE MUSKETT. London College of Communication nicolemuskett.com

Empowering Women Series My ‘Empowering Women’ skateboard series comments on the lack of positive female representation in skateboard graphics. Women are degraded and exploited not only in the sport but massively in the graphics. My series focuses on empowering women rather than undermining them and features several outstanding, inspiring female figures such as Rosa Parks, Michelle Obama and Diana Abbott.


PORTIA EMILY BAKER. Camberwell College of Arts portiaemily.com

Excerpts from ‘A Typical Great British Family Portrait’ My identity as a Black British woman artist is at the core of my practice. Being mixed-race gives me a set of challenges to address surrounding my race. Growing up in Britain, this has proved complex and conflicting. Poet John Agard has influenced me as he raises awareness on issues around being mixed-race, his work resonates with me and my work reflects some of the questions dual heritage evokes. I am also motivated by the work of Black artists who explored racial stereotypes in the 80’s and my aim is to investigate if these stereotypes still exist through the exploration of myself and wider society. My work is traditional as I use technical drawing skills whilst challenging the boundaries of race. The series of drawings examine stereotypes often given to mixed race women which allow for exploration into colourism as well as racism. As basic education on positive black role models was denied to me by the British education system, my work is intended to act as both a tool for learning as well as to be viewed as aesthetically pleasing.


REBECCA OSEWA. London College of Communication rot-design.co.uk

Costume West African fabric, when worn is referred to as (native) traditional attire. Itis mainly worn by young West Africans to the many celebrations this community attends -weddings, christenings, religious and birthday parties. In Britain, traditional attire becomes occasional wear, this is due to nature of tailoring made to measure pieces. However the fabric material and textile pattern allows for the designs to made into everyday ready to wear pieces. I want West African fashion to be mainstream. Wearing traditional clothing on special occasions, turns the culture and outfits into costumes albeit if the individual is wearing it to show their sense of African pride. I have created my collection with the inspiration of West African pride. I endeavour to bring the pride into high street stores and make the ‘costumes’ into formal and casual wear.


SAMIA MALIK. Central Saint Martins ihtgw1.blogspot.co.uk asrrart.wordpress.com

Black Female Artists The inspiration behind ‘Black Female Artists’ is from the women of colour catalogue collated by Rita Keegan in the 80’s and 90’s, archived in Women’s Art Library at Goldsmiths University. The catalogue is immensely inspirational, full of art by courageous, tenacious Black female artists, creating political art confronting struggles of marginalised Black people. Although some of the artists in Women of Colour catalogue have received recognition in the contemporary art world, many of the artists have been censored, ignored and silenced. This denotes patriarchal oppression; vicious racism and sexism in the contemporary art world. Women of Colour Catalogue needs to be recognised in art education and art history, as an important and crucial source of reference. A focus of this catalogue in art education would be beneficial for art viewers and students from all types of backgrounds.


SHANI-LOUISE OSEI. Central Saint Martins

Woven Womanhood The inspiration behind this piece was my personal experience of Feminism. Initially, I felt it was a very cold and aggressive movement that I did not want to be a part of. However through various discussions with women who are and are not mainstream feminists, I have become more open to the ideas that Black Feminism stems from. I am finding where I feel most comfortable in the movement. Woven Womanhood comments on the need to celebrate one another, despite personal differences in culture, experience and perception.


SILVIA ROSI. London College of Communication silviarosi.co.uk

Self Portrait as my Mother Self Portrait as my Mother is inspired by a journey to Togo, my mother’s country of origin, where I found a collection of family portraits. I recreated the aesthetic of the African studio portrait, to produce the series of images. Though re-staging photographs from my mother’s early years as a migrant in Italy, I was able to explore displacement and representation within my family album. Being born in Italy to migrants parents, I have had to juggle two cultural identities. Photography is the perfect way to enable my ideas to form and to explore thoughts and fantasies on a visual level.


TAIWO SONEKAN. London College of Fashion taiwosonekan.com

Young and Beautiful SS16 ‘’Would you still love me when I’m no longer ‘Young and Beautiful?” - Lana Del Rey Then I thought...It’s the sad truth, the changing image of a woman can make love fade I am a London based Womenswear and Textile Designer. All of my textile are uniquely designed handmade and printed with quality. Textile should be meaningful to reality and reflect on the emotions of the everyday person. in order to do this, I immerse myself in to the environment of my project to highlight the words of individual through my art.


YHARNNA DIOR JOSEPH. London College of Communication

Tetrahedron. Beauty, Identity and Conceal My project explores racial insecurities and how women often feel they have to conceal their natural beauty in order to conform to what society and the media portray as ‘beautiful’. Whilst working on a makeup counter, I noticed women asking for makeup lighter than their skin. It was shocking to see the number of Black and ethnic minority women visiting the counter who wanted to look lighter. My photography series communicates the real-life narrative of a woman who used to be ashamed of her skin, feeling lighter skin was superior. At first, she wanted to conceal her natural skin colour but eventually she began to accept her true identity and realised that Black is beautiful. My work encourages Black empowerment by helping Black women to embrace their natural skin, reinforcing that Black is beautiful and our natural skin colours should not be concealed.


FURTHER READING. The Portrayal of Black Women in The Arts and Media Black women as cultural readers. (1995). Choice Reviews Online, 33(04), pp.33-1924-331924. Brown, K. (2011). The Emergence of Black Women Artists: The Founding of “Where We At”. Nka Journal of Contemporary African Art, 2011(29), pp.118-127. Henderson, C. (2010). Imagining the Black female body. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Lordi, E. (2014). The Black Female Body in Literature and Art: Performing Identity / Writing the Black Revolutionary Diva: Women’s Subjectivity and the Decolonizing Text. American Literature, 86(3), pp.631-633. Nelson, C. (2010). Representing the Black female subject in western art. New York, NY: Routledge. Tesfagiorgis, F. (1992). Afrofemcentrism and its fruition in the art of Elizabeth Catlett and Faith Ringgold. Umoja Noble, S. (2013). Hyper-visibility as a Means of Rendering Black Women and Girls Invisible | InVisible Culture: An Electronic Journal for Visual Culture. [online] Ivc.lib.rochester. edu. Available at: http://ivc.lib.rochester.edu/google-search-hyper-visibility-as-a-means-ofrendering-black-women-and-girls-invisible. West, C. (1995). Mammy, Sapphire, and Jezebel: Historical images of Black women and their implications for psychotherapy. Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, Practice, Training, 32(3), pp.458-466. Willis, D. (2009). Posing beauty. New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co. Willis, D. and Williams, C. (2002). The black female body. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Race, Identity and Representation Gilroy, P. (2007). Black Britain. London: Saqi. Hall, S., Evans, J. and Nixon, S. (2013). Representation. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications Ltd. Hooks, b. (1992). Black looks. Boston, MA: South End Press. Malik, S. (2002). Representing black Britain. London: SAGE Publications. Nederveen Pieterse, J. (1992). White on black. New Haven: Yale University Press.


Womanism and Black Feminism Adichie, C. (n.d.). We should all be feminists. Davis, A. (1983). Women, race & class. New York: Vintage Books. Hill Collins, P. (2000). Black feminist thought. New York: Routledge. Hooks, b. (1981). Ain’t I a woman. Boston, MA: South End Press. Hooks, b. (2000). Feminism is for everybody. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. Lorde, A., Byrd, R., Cole, J. and Guy-Sheftall, B. (2009). I am your sister. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Mirza, H. (2015). “Harvesting our collective intelligence”: Black British feminism in post-race times. Women’s Studies International Forum, 51, pp.1-9. Nwapa, F. (1976). Efuru. London: Heinemann. Sanders, C. (1995). Living the intersection. Minneapolis: Fortress Press. The Combahee River Collective, (2014). A Black Feminist Statement. WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly, 42(3-4), pp.271-280. Young, L. (2000). What is Black British Feminism?. Women: A Cultural Review, 11(1-2), pp.4560.

Whiteness DiAngelo, R. (n.d.). White Fragility. 1st ed. pp.54 - 70. Harris, C. (1993). Whiteness as Property. Harvard Law Review, 106(8), p.1707. McIntosh, P. (2015). Extending the Knapsack: Using the White Privilege Analysis to Examine Conferred Advantage and Disadvantage. Women & Therapy, 38(3-4), pp.232-245. Mednick, M. (1998). Exploring white privilege: Deconstructing race studies. PsycCRITIQUES, 43(12). Shome, R. (2000). Outing whiteness. Critical Studies in Media Communication, 17(3), pp.366-371. Tajudeen, B. (2016). Artefact – Is UAL too white?. [online] Artefact. Available at: http://www. artefactmagazine.com/2016/06/21/is-ual-too-white/


Equality and Diversity Ansari, a. (2015). Ethnic Minorities Deserve Safe Spaces Without White People. [online] The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/aeman-ansari/ethnic-safespaces_b_6897176.html Berrey, E. (2016). Diversity is for white people: The big lie behind a well-intended word. [online] Salon. Available at: http://www.salon.com/2015/10/26/diversity_is_for_white_ people_the_big_lie_behind_a_well_intended_word/ Bhanot, K. (2015). Decolonise, not Diversify. [online] Media Diversified. Available at:https:// mediadiversified.org/2015/12/30/is-diversity-is-only-for-white-people/ Brait, E. (2016). Women and minorities penalized for promoting workplace diversity – study. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/25/ women-minoriites-penalized-workplace-diversity-study Byrd, M. and Scott, C. (2014). Diversity in the workforce. New York: Routledge. Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York: Continuum. Psychologicalscience.org. (2012). ‘Color Blind’ Policies Could Make Diversity Harder to Achieve - Association for Psychological Science. [online] Available at:http://www. psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/color-blind-policies-could-makediversity-harder-to-achieve.html Richards, A. and Finnigan, T. (2015). Embedding equality and diversity in the curriculum: an art and design practitioner’s guide. 1st ed. [ebook] London: The Higher Education Academy. Available at: https://www.heacademy.ac.uk/sites/default/files/resources/eedc_ art_and_design_online.pdf


KEY TERMS. Ally When a person or group with power gives help to another person or group which faces oppressions. Anti-Blackness When non-black people of colour have a dislike and discriminate against those in black community. Anti-Blackness is also described as the fulcrum of white supremacy. Black Feminism Black feminist theory emerged from 1980 onwards. It challenges mainstream/white feminism to understand and recognise how women and socio-political issues affect Black women differently because of racism inside and outside the feminist movement. The mainstream feminist movement has been labeled as exclusionary to non-white women who are can face double sometimes even triple forms oppressions and discrimination. Colour blind (Race) The idea of not seeing race as a way to end racial discrimination and racism. However the colourblindness ideology is fraught and has many pitfalls. By treating individuals equally, without regard to race, culture, or ethnicity can actually lead to unintended discrimination. Colourism Unlike racism which only white people can be the perpetrators, people of colour can aide colourism in their communities by favouring lighter skinned black and brown skin tones. This is a trickle down effect of white racism. Cultural Appreciation Cultural Appreciation is learning about another culture with respect and courtesy. It is appreciating a certain culture enough to take time to learn about it, interact with people among the culture, and actually understand the culture. Cultural Appropriation When a person of the dominate culture borrows something of cultrual significance from minority groups with their consultation or input. Typically those doing the “borrowing,� or exploiting, lack a contextual understanding of what makes the cultural symbols, art forms and modes of expression significant. Despite their ignorance of the ethnic groups from which they borrow, members of the majority culture have frequently profited from cultural exploitation. Whilst minority groups have been ridiculed for practising their culture.


Intersectional Feminism Intersectionality is a theory coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw which examines how multiple social identities such as race and class affect women in the US criminal justice system. The term since has been extended to describe a new wave of feminism, ‘Intersectional Feminism.’ This is a type of feminism aims to be more inclusive by not be excluding women based on gender, race, class and physical ability. Misogynoir A term referring to misogyny directed towards Black women, where race and gender both play roles in bias. At the heart of this concept are two corrosive stereotypes. The first characterises black people as animalistic, uncontrolled or uncontrollable, and is in part responsible for the concepts of the “angry or strong black woman”. These are used to deny pain and legitimise offence: “Oh, that unfair treatment you’ve received at work? You’ll get over it, you’re a strong black woman.” The second is that black women’s bodies are hypersexualised: the “sexy black woman” is all tits and twerking. - Eliza Anyangwe Oppression When a person or a group of people are subjected to unfair treatment by those in position of power. Prejudice A strong dislike for a person or a group due to their race, sexuality or gender. Privilege A special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular person or group. Racism Racism is a product of the complex interaction in a given society of a race-based worldview with prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination. Racism can be present in social actions, practices, or political systems (e.g., apartheid) that support the expression of prejudice or aversion in discriminatory practices. Contrary to popular opinion, racism is a tandem of prejudice + power. In a society where white people possess most of the power it is unlikely for Black and other people of colour to be racist as they are not in the position to use their power to: • • •

Stop another group of people getting jobs based on race. Have an impact on the criminal justice system to target and imprison individuals based on racial characteristics. Re-address bias and disparities in the education system

White Supremacy White supremacy is an ideology centered upon the belief, and promotion of the belief, that white people are superior. It is argued my critical race theorist that all white people have a level of white supremacy values because of the media, education and politics have embedded whiteness as superior in society. Therefore white people grow up consciously


or unconsciously believing they should politically, economically and socially rule nonwhite people. The term “white supremacy” can also refer to a political or socio-economic system where white people enjoy a structural advantage over other ethnic groups, both at a collective and an individual level. White Washing A term used to describe white actors or actress playing non-fictional and historical non-white character roles. Therefore writing and disconnecting historical events and achievements to the non-white community. Whiteness Whiteness,’ like ‘colour’ and ‘Blackness,’ are essentially social constructs applied to human beings rather than veritable truths that have universal validity. The power of Whiteness, however, is manifested by the ways in which racialized Whiteness becomes transformed into social, political, economic, and cultural behavior. White culture, norms, and values in all these areas become normative natural. They become the standard against which all other cultures, groups, and individuals are measured and usually found to be inferior (Henry & Tator, 2006, pp. 46-67). Womanism “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender” -Alice Walker Because mainstream feminism goals and ideologies differed to that of the needs of Black women, Alice Walker coined the term womanism where Black Women were at the center of the ideology without the need to racialise how gender plays an important role in the life of Black Women. It includes the word “man”, recognizing that Black men are an integral part of Black women’s lives as their children, lovers, and family members. Womanism accounts for the ways in which black women support and empower black men, and serves as a tool for understanding the Black woman’s relationship to men as different from the white woman’s.


SISTERHOOD. “Why does that anger unleash itself most tellingly against another Black woman at the least excuse? Why do I judge her in a more critical light than any other, becoming enraged when she does not measure up? And jf behind the object of my attack should lie the face of my own self, unaccepted, then what could possibly quench a fire fueled by such reciprocating passions?” - -Audre Lorde 5 Reasons Why Sisterhood Is Important and What We Can Learn From Wonder Woman ​Written by Angela D Coleman

Sisters in the sisterhood understand. To share the thoughts and feelings of your honest, authentic self is one of the best benefits of sisterhood. Our sisterhood is our safe space to share and heal, especially useful when it feels like to world is against you. To call another woman a sister is to say, “I trust you”, “I have your back”, “Your feelings are valid”, and “I believe in you.” Sisterhood is empowering. A female must know, love, and honor herself before she can know, love, and honor you as her sister. Like attracts like and we can find each other to connect and share resources. When women are empowered, the entire community is empowered. Therefore, there is no community empowerment without women’s empowerment. Empowered sisters are superwomen. Don’t believe me? William Moulton Marston, an American psychologist and writer credited for inventing the polygraph (forerunner to Wonder Woman’s magic lasso), struck upon an idea for a new kind of superhero, one who would triumph not with fists or firepower, but with love. “Fine,” said Elizabeth, his wife. “But make her a woman.” The superhero that Marston created became known as Wonder Woman. We can look at Wonder Woman as an archetype of female empowerment. In the comics and also in an older television series, Wonder Woman is portrayed as a superheroine. Created by Marston and published by DC Comics, Wonder Woman fights for justice, love, peace, and gender equality. Wonder Woman is a warrior princess of the Amazons tribe, native to Paradise Island, a secluded island in the middle of a vast ocean. In her homeland, Wonder Woman is a Princess, known as Princess Diana of Themyscira. A little-known fact: Nubia was Wonder Woman’s Black sister, created from black clay, just as Diana was created from white clay. Like Diana, Nubia, appearing in almost twenty DC Comics issues, has superhuman strength. Nubia also possessed a magic sword, the only weapon on Earth that could counteract Diana’s magic lasso. She could also glide on air currents. Nubia’s magical armor with a raised embossed lion’s head on its breastplate enabled her to time travel to mystical realms.


The sisterhood has secrets. You have to be a sister in the sisterhood to know each other’s secret identity and special talents. Diana Prince is Wonder Woman’s cover to protect her secret identity. Wonder Woman is gifted with a wide range of superhuman powers along with superior combat and battle skills. She possesses an arsenal of weapons which include the Lasso of Truth, a pair of indestructible bracelets, a tiara which serves as a projectile, and, in some stories, an invisible airplane. Mentoring girls is an important part of the sisterhood. Our sisterhood must be intergenerational and diverse to grow and continue positive social change. We need more women like Nubia and Wonder Woman and they were groomed to be empowered superwomen sisters from birth. We all have the capacity to be them with a collective responsibility to promote justice, love, peace, gender and racial equality. Our sisterhood is our tribe and each of us is gifted with something unique, our own arsenal of knowledge, skills, and weapons (not literally, but figuratively) to assist us in our mission. Our tribe is a diverse sisterhood exemplified in the many ages, shapes, colors, and textures of our physical selves. In this world of fiction, the Amazons are a healthy matriarchal tribe. Some of them have titles and there is a hierarchy, but they simultaneously respect, assist, and care for each other as sisters while co-existing with men. Women in the sisterhood are beautiful, talented, and powerful. Why does this world have to be fictitious? With sisterhood, we can manifest this reality of empowered femininity within our communities. Angela D. Coleman is the founding President of Sisterhood Agenda. This expert is taken from her book, Black Girls Guide: How to Be a Sister.


USEFUL WEBSITES. Black Ballad The Human Experience through the eyes of mixed-race and black British Women www.blackballad.co.uk Essence An expansive web destination for African-American women www.essence.com For Harriet Celebrating the Fullness of Black Womanhood www.forharriet.com Gal-Dem A online magazine written by women of colour for all to explore! www.gal-dem.com Media Diversified Aims to advance the discourse around race, politics, identity and popular culture. Mediadiversified.org Mvslim Inspires, Unite, Motivates. Uniting people from different backgrounds and cultures, not only to create a strong community of Muslims, but to make the world of Muslims more accessible to others www.mvslim.com No Fly on the WALL Not just another feminist blog www.noflyonthewall.com Sister-hood A digital magazine and a series of live events spotlighting the voices of women of Muslim heritage. www.sister-hood.com The Huffington Post - Black Voices INFORM • INSPIRE • ENTERTAIN • EMPOWER www.huffingtonpost.com/black-voices


The Voice Online Britain’s Favourite Black Newspaper www.voice-online.co.uk Wear Your Voice Mag An intersectional feminist covering issues such a race, disability rights, gender, and body positivity as well as culture and lifestyle topics. www.wearyourvoicemag.com


A NOTE FROM AISHA RICHARDS

Founder of Shades of Noir

In the context of politics, education and creative industries The Black Blossoms Exhibition is profoundly important. The global political structures of inequality affect all women, but in particular Black Women as this group faces a myriad oppressions such as racism, anti-blackness and sexism. This results in cases of violence both mental and physical. The exhibition gives a chance for Black Women to tell their stories and is one of the few within the UK that has our voice at its heart. Its very presence is a political act of activism. By University of the Arts London supporting Black Blossoms they are showing their commitment to be leaders in tackling social inequality. UAL I salute you. The educational context is one, which focuses on the lack of resources and space to celebrate the contributions of women of colour who learn and teach art and creative practice. When barriers for entry both as a student and a academic are still prevalent for women of colour, they are still committed to enhance their learning and teaching environments by forth new ideas, fresh perspectives therefore increasing the cultural currency of those from different backgrounds and dismantling systems of oppression. Black Blossom, I salute you. In the creative industries there is a tendency to undermine art that does not support a holistic ideology of valuing the best people, the best women, the best creative practitioners. Instead, what it happens is right from through the education system there is large gaps in attainment and retention. This is a contribution factor of why there is so few of us in UK galleries, in the media, in film, in illustration, in fashion and the list goes on. This exhibition offers a space and opportunity to celebrate our work as a collective community, to showcase our work irrespective of our narrative, and it was created by one of us. Bee Tajudeen I salute you.


WITH THANKS TO. Aisha Richards for the early morning wake up calls, tough-love, support and guidance. Victoria Fabbri and Natalie Stevens for choosing Black Blossoms to host the alumni exhibition. Summer Oxley you are the truest definition of an ally. Gavin and the SUARTS team for supporting Black Blossoms. Mark Crawly - UAL’s Dean of Students. Thank you for seeing the vision of Black Blossoms and all your support. Andrew Illman - no matter how unreliable I am, you have always come through. Lastly thank you to all the exhibitors for sharing their work to fuel social change.


WITH THANKS TO. Aisha Richards for the early morning wake up calls, tough-love, support and guidance. Victoria Fabbri and Natalie Stevens for choosing Black Blossoms to host the alumni exhibition. Summer Oxley you are the truest definition of an ally. Gavin and the SUARTS team for supporting Black Blossoms. Mark Crawly - UAL’s Dean of Students. Thank you for seeing the vision of Black Blossoms and all your support. Andrew Illman - no matter how unreliable I am, you have always come through. Lastly thank you to all the exhibitors for sharing their work to fuel social change.


Black Blossoms: Exhibition 2016  
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