It has been a great year for creatives and an even greater year for Artists, especially 22 year old Aisha, from South London, who has been doing numbers lately for her re-imagination of Van Gogh’s floral paintings on Black Women.
I spoke with her to discuss more about herself, her Art and Black women.
What inspired you to first create Art?
Fan art is where I first started to find an interest in art, prior to that, I was more of a happy observer rather than a creator.
And what inspired you to re-imagine Gogh’s on black women? and why?
I love Van Gogh and his paintings a lot, and love black women even more so. I wanted to incorporate pictures of black women into a space that black women might feel themselves isolated from.
Just out of curiosity, did you face any negative comments on using van Gogh’s floral paintings?
Yes, I did. I’ve received a lot of racist comments, I’ve been accused of ‘black washing’ and cultural appropriation. It’s funny because a good percentage of these comments come from white people who cannot believe that I would take something that they consider to be ‘white culture’ and make it into something black. Which is ironic.
Very Ironic, I agree. I’ve also noticed you did some work featuring versatility of black hair. Why do you think expressing black hair in your Art important?
Black hair is a huge conversation in the black community, especially now. I feel like its a pertinent time to depict black hair in all its variety and show that we’re beautiful when we’re natural but we’re also beautiful wearing protective styles such as braids or weaves.
As an artist, especially a Black female Artist, do you think you’re not represented enough or even visible in Art?
Definitely. Black women are extremely under-represented in all mediums. When a black person makes art, it’s immediately classified as ‘black art’ instead of just art and kind of lumped to the side. Its important to create spaces for black women to produce art, and to show young black girls that this is a path that you can take and you can succeed in. I feel like because of the lack of representation, black women probably feel like art isn’t a feasible direction to take in life.
What’s your opinion on the correlation between Art and healing as a black woman?
A common misconception about black women is that we’re strong enough to carry all the traumas that we face on a day to day basis.
It’s not true. We’re human. We should be allowed to be vulnerable. I think art, in all its many forms, its an important way to emphasis that vulnerability.
Do you think Black women are sexualized when represented in Art? What do you think?
Yes, and dark skin women even more so, sadly. It’s even more concerning when it comes from the perception of a man, they’re saying black women can only be beautiful when presented nakedly for the male gaze. Its troubling, especially when you consider that black women are hyper-sexualised from a very young age.
Can you tell me your first work you’ve created (on the Van Gogh series) and what’s your favourite work you’ve ever done that you’ve posted?
The Aya Jones one was the first one I created, and it was while I was still really unsure what exactly I was aiming for – concept wise. But I found it so beautiful and decided I had to use more black women, and from then it kind of fell together.
My favourite piece of work is ‘as black as the cosmos’ there’s just something so striking about the pictures used, and it’s pretty obvious that I love putting space-related pictures on black skin.
And lastly, what do you want us to know?
Black women are here to stay. 2017 was a great year for black women in many different ways, but 2018 will be greater. The limitations we face as black women in the creative industry is a problem that I am determined to help solve (even in the smallest form) alongside all the other incredible black women making breakthroughs in TV, Film, Tech, etc. Black women are more than capable and we’ll continue to showcase our incredible abilities, despite these limitations.