I am the middle, the contradiction. My first name blends the name of my parents as my face blends their cultures. Key-on-a; An old soul born of a teen mom, who grew up middle class with a pigmentation and lineage that placed me at the centre of two racial worlds. Often considered too black to be white and too white to be black, I had to grow into my cultural identity. To do this meant not only to accept myself, my culture, my history, and my skin, but to appreciate it and take pride in it.
With this collection, I wanted to artistically project my personal experience of being a black female in today’s society. I am a self-proclaimed artist who dropped out of the BFA program despite my successes at Western University because institutionalising my craft killed my desire to create. I have enjoyed art and art-making for as long as I can remember. Currently, I am a full-time student and art has been made a hobby, serving as a recreational extension of my life’s experience.
To quote Tupac, “I am a reflection of my society” and my art is a further projection my experience within it. I’d like to think of myself as a very provocative and controversial artist; highlighting matters that are not mainstream and drawing attention to moral issues that are often overseen by broader society. I am inspired by the beauty involved in the plight of humanity; the pain, the passion, the struggle, and the triumph.
Everyday I live my life I live, it as a black woman; a double negative in a white-patriarchal society. I am proud to have grown into accepting my culture, my history, myself, and my skin. Historic influences and life experiences have blessed me with the privilege of being surrounded by amazingly strong black females – who have also been some of the most marginalised and underappreciated members of society. This exhibit is to commemorate them for helping me embrace my #blackgirlmagic and love myself in such a way that I can be proud to be me, and for all of those still on the path to loving themselves.
Photos courtesy of Diyana Noory