Headlands Center for the Arts

Nyame Brown

california | visual
Artist in Residence Program 2019

 

Artist Statement

An awareness of art history is a pertinent part of my process.

My desire is to use art historical precedent as a fluid source of reference rather than a fixed and linear projection. This allows me multiple new ways of perception from the inside, not as an outsider. Creating new allegories for my characters opens an unexplored space for perception of black people, by whites and blacks.

By articulating personal history and African Diaspora­–multi-threaded history, not precluding the Western cannon of art, I locate myself in art history, strategically deploying it, anachronistically creating new connections and associations.

My Storytelling functions culturally and the tradition calls for expanding the idiom through improvisation, riffing, and rupturing. With Hip Hop and the Blues there is the use of allegory, metaphor, and the modernist persona.

I build my narratives like scaffolding around Art History of paintings, Hip Hop, and personal history. The goal of my work is to build lore to new heights.

While at Headlands

I will be absorbed in my painting/installation project New Black Myths. Comprising both a series of large-scale paintings/drawings and a suite of cut-paper diagrams, New Black Myths brings together meditative texts by the Roman playwright Terence, the English poet Shakespeare, and contemporary scholar Darby English, with diasporic resources, such as those described in Martine Syms’s powerful Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto, to propose new cartographical models of Blackness. I’ll especially focus on Aaron’s unique ability to bridge representational and actual life through his cultural positioning and ability to use what W. E. B. Dubois terms Negro “double consciousness”—being self aware of one’s multiple facets of identity in contemporary life.

Selected Works