Diversity and race have attracted lots of public attention over the last year. Black Lives Matter has dominated social media feeds. Black squares and #BlackoutTuesdays were the representation of solidarity and public outrage. Protesters and activists utilized different methods to send a message to the public and inform people of the scope of the issue. However, there is no better way to express social vices, than art, which is why I have decided to draw inspiration from Tiffany B. Chanel for my art piece. Our works are different both visually and thematically. On the other hand, we both chose to use art in order to start a conversation about diversity and the beauty of our differences as humans.
Tiffany B. Chanel is a black artist, who uses her talent in order to showcase her cultural and ethnic roots, the unique features of black life in America as well as the history that unites African Americans. Her piece, which I have decided to draw inspiration from, is called Paola. It features a young black woman, wearing a headscarf and traditional Haitian jewels. Tiffany is a Brooklyn-based artist, who chose to portray Paola, a Harlem resident from Haiti, who relocated to New York City in 2014 (Sayej, 2018). Paola is an entrepreneur, who launched her own headscarf company called Fanm Djanm (‘strong woman’ in Haitian Krevol). Tiffany B. Chanel fights for artistic representation and diversity, which is why her works resonate with me and my interpretation of the purpose of modern art. I believe that works of art become a reflection of social issues and can be crucial in highlighting the inequality present in our society. The colors of Paola’s face are different: yellow, beige, brown, which is a symbol of diversity and different ethnic backgrounds.
For my art piece, I decided to feature three women of different ethnicities. The idea was to showcase how their differences blend into something unique and beautiful. The second theme of the art piece was to tie female empowerment into the mix by drawing modern young women without perfecting their features or focusing on their bodies. I stand against the objectification and sexualization of girls, which puts so much pressure on women to always look perfect and feminine. Another important detail to note is the style that each girl has. Their unique fashion statements such as glasses and jewelry helped me to showcase their differences and backgrounds a little bit more. My art and Tiffany B. Chanel’s piece are thematically similar. However, while her work showcases the ethnic background of one woman, mine focuses on bringing people from different racial backgrounds together in order to create a fun mix. We both incorporated the theme of female empowerment but did it slightly differently. Both Tiffany and I used the same medium for our art. While her work is full of colors, I decided to feature a couple of women with different ethnic features, which is why I did not have to use colors to represent diversity.
Sayej, N. (2018). Celebrating Harlem: ‘It’s important to show art that reflects different people.’ The Guardian. Web.