Hazziza Q. Abdullah, MFA 2020

March 18-21, 2020

Opening Reception: March 20th, 6-8pm

Yolanda (mother) & Nia (daughter), 2020, Archival Pigment Print, 30x40

Speaking Truth To Sour, 2020, Moving Image

Artist Statement

My wish is that Black women and girls are seen presenting themselves through my work. I want to show the Black female, not as the object of other’s oppression, but as the subject of her own comprehensive story. I investigate how the Black women see the world and how the world sees Black women. 

In early 19th century photography, there was often no positive visual record of Black female self-representation. My work examines this historical misrepresentation and seeks to replace it with Black beauty as an ordinary and extraordinary staple of life. My work addresses the “talk” a Black mother has – or not - with her daughter to ensure she will be equipped to function in a world that is not always kind to black women and girls. The project also allows daughters to examine how prepared their moms were by their own mothers and offer grace as Black mothering has a complex history. Through issues such as representation, colorism, and parenting my images seek to counteract what’s projected onto Black women. I hope my images radiate Black beauty, vulnerability and female humaneness. My work asks the viewer to see the eternal life that Black women’s bodies and souls carry. 

The very process of Black girls becoming women involve assaults upon femininity, labor entitlement, and beauty definition. I’m interested in displays of Black beauty that challenge us to respect the comprehensive landscape that is Black female beauty. Manipulating darkness and light in coordination with specific features captures dynamic parts of the whole beauty that is the Black female. Pairing these photos with the voices of the women in the same space, allows them full autonomy of how they are represented. My aim is to counter the distorted imagery of Black woman that’s been based on the Eurocentric gaze. My photography aims to allow Black women to be “seen” in her complex history.