AMANDA JOHNSON

ARTIST STATEMENT:

The foundation of The Evolution of Her Self Worth, came from my personal journey of wanting to be recognized and celebrated as a beautiful, powerful, and sensual being, a beautiful, powerful and sensual Black woman. Feeling beaten and let down by myself for seemingly having fallen into a stereotype of the Black woman as overly sexualized and degraded. An idea that says I shouldn’t find power and strength in feeling sensual and sexy, and yet I do. A series of experiences that made me believe that as Black women, I cannot find power in these things. The Evolution of Her Self Worth is the culmination of many attempts at trying to piece together my own self-worth, ideas about femininity, sensuality, acceptability, and power. It is about taking the image that doesn’t feel too sexual but just enough to evoke a feeling of strength and sensuality. Something that critiques the assertion that a Black woman cannot be too sexy or forward, too confident or empowered. The idea that enjoying and indulging in my size and curves was a predisposition to being enticed by sexualization, something needing to be snuffed out or pushed to the side all the while it's seeping out at the seams. The homogenous history of photography and art-making in response to the female body has either degraded and demeaned the Black women or denied her existence. This act of erasure from an era of image-making draws me to create work aesthetically reminiscent of that style as an act of writing Black women into that history. I draw from the aesthetic language of Edward Weston and challenge the misogynistic male gaze of artist’s such as Weston, Man Ray and Brandt.

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