Art
'Beloved' by Tawny Chatmon.

Tawny Chatmon's 'The Awakening' Is an Assertion of the Richness of Black Motherhood

The multimedia artist celebrates the beauty of black familial bonds in her latest visual series.

Maryland-based visual artist, Tawny Chatmon's latest work The Awakening, is just that—a rousing collection of intricate, melanin-enriched pieces that truly awaken the visual sense.

"The primary theme that drives my art practice is celebrating the beauty of black childhood," reads Chatmon's artist's statement. "I am devoted to creating portraits that are loosely inspired by works painted during the 15th-19th centuries with the specific intent of bringing to the forefront faces that were often under-celebrated in this style of work."

The photographer's creative process consists of layering patterns and textures as well as combining mediums such as photography, painting and digital illustration to produce vivid statement pieces. "My camera remains my primary tool of communication," the artist tells OkayAfrica. "After a portrait session is complete, I typically digitally manipulate my subjects and unite them with other photographic components to achieve a work that is a new photographic expression."


The artist's decision to focus on black female subjects comes from a simple desire for expanded artistic representation. "I've chosen to highlight black women and children in my work because they have always been missing from works I loved growing up."

"My The Awakening series is a celebration of familial bonds, motherhood/fatherhood & an ode to black childhood. Loosely inspired by the work of Marianne Stokes whose portraits often showed the fine details of garments that were floor length and embroidered. The expression of childhood bonding is shown through portraits of breastfeeding, hair plaiting and styling and the intricacies of protecting and raising a child."

View Tawny Chatmon's stunning The Awakening series and keep up with her work via her website.

'Sunday's Child' by Tawny Chatmon Image courtesy of the artist.

'Reflection' by Tawny Chatmon Image courtesy of the artist.

'Braiding Hour' by Tawny Chatmon Image courtesy of the artist.

'Covered' by Tawny ChatmonImage of courtesy of the artist.

'Beloved' by Tawny Chatmon Image courtesy of the artist.

'Not Charolette' by Tawny ChatmonImage courtesy of the artist.

'Almighty' by Tawny Chatmon Image courtesy of the artist.

Interview
Photo by Toka Hlongwane.

Toka Hlongwane’s Photo Series ‘Impilo ka Darkie’ Aims to Give an Insight Into Black South Africans’ Experiences

With his latest photo series, 'Impilo ka Darkie', South African photographer Toka Hlongwane offers an imperfect but compelling insight into the lives of the people he has encountered through his travels.

Toka Hlongwane is a Johannesburg-based documentary photographer whose work often casts a lens on society's underclass. His most recent photo series, Impilo ka Darkie, shot over five years, is Hlongwane's attempt to answer two questions: what does it mean to be Black? And, above that, what is the measure of Black life?

Part of Impilo ka Darkie's appeal is that it also documents Hlongwane's growth as a photographer. As the years roll on, his composition becomes stronger, the focus on his pictures becomes much sharper and a storyline begins to emerge in his work.

Keep reading... Show less

get okayafrica in your inbox

popular.

Kamo Mphela's Latest EP 'Nkulunkulu' is a Must-Listen

While Kamo Mphela's comparison to the late Lebo Mathosa has been front and centre, it's really her vibrant amapiano EP 'Nkulunkulu' that should be centre stage.