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Every year, March 1 marks the start of Women’s History Month and the end of Black History Month.
But the East New York artist melissa sutherland moss is using her brilliant collage art to highlight the intersection, where black femininity can be celebrated and honored.
Her latest multimedia collage series “First Lady,” premiering this weekend, showcases Black women and their storied stories of triumph, including portraits of Maya Angelou, Eartha Kitt, Shirley Chisholm, Nina Simone, Rosa Parks, family members, and plus.
“Looking at the pile of clippings made me think about my identity, my culture, where I come from and what jewelry means in black culture,” said Sutherland Moss.
“Even in hip-hop culture, jewelry means something: it’s status, wealth and royalty. And my mom used to wear a lot of jewelry too.”
Sutherland Moss used those clusters of cut diamonds in portraits of black women to acknowledge their iconic role in shaping the history of black women around the world.
“I have to merge my ancestors, my black women, these historical figures with the diamond groups that I made because there is a lot of royalty, there is a lot of richness in the stories that our ancestors left behind,” she said. “I felt like it was a perfect way to retell these stories with something that’s easy on the eyes and has a lot of background to me.”
His previous series, “You’re Black Because You’re Not White,” examined racial tension and interracial solidarity in the United States in 2020 and featured repurposed paper bags, a nod to the cruel skin color test they had been tested for. used.
his NFT collectionPosted on Voice HQ, it shows Black Barbie dolls going about their fabulous everyday lives around the world.
Sutherland Moss studied art in college, has a master’s degree in psychology, and has worked as an assistant to Solange Knowles.
“During that time I felt like, ‘Oh, I can’t be an artist, it’s not doable,’” he said.
“I didn’t know a lot about black artists, I didn’t know they could ‘make it,’ because when you go to these art schools they don’t really teach that in the curriculum, so I wasn’t exposed to that. I don’t want anyone else to feel like this ever again.”
For this reason, in addition to his artistic practice, Sutherland Moss co-founded sk.ArtSpacea four year old boy study hub for local Brooklyn artists to express themselves, gain exposure and expand their network.
“I feel like I’m here to do this job. It feels natural.”
First Lady is on display online and at the Biggs Museum in Maryland and the Ely Center for Contemporary Art in Connecticut.