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

Adekunle Gold Is Living His Best Life

We speak to the Nigerian star about how marriage and fatherhood have led him to find both newfound happiness and newfound freedom as an artist.

''I'm having the time of my life,'' says Adekunle Gold over a Zoom call while seated in his office in Lagos. ''I'm making songs that are so true to my current energy, my current vibe.'' When I got on the call with the 34-year-old artist on a Wednesday afternoon, the first thing I noticed was his hair tied up in little braids, the second was his wide smile. As we speak, the crooner laughs multiple times but it's his aura that shines through the computer screen, it lets you know better than his words that he's truly having the time of life.

Born Adekunle Kosoko, the popular Nigerian singer got married barely two years ago to fellow artist Simi. Last year, the power couple welcomed their first child. As we talk, Gold points to his journey as a father and a husband as some of the biggest inspirations at the moment not just as far as music goes but as his perspective in life and how he now approaches things.

''My [artistry] has changed a lot because being a father and being a husband has made me grow a lot and more.'' Adekunle Gold tells OkayAfrica. ''It has made me understand life a lot more too. I'm feeling more responsible for people. You know, now I have a kid to raise and I have a wife to support, to be a real man and husband and father for.'' He credits this journey with both his newfound happiness and a newfound freedom as an artist.

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