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American, b. 1983 Lovin’, Livin’, & Givin’, 2014Archival Inkjet Print15 ½ x 23 ¼” Image on 16 x 24” Paper Edition of 30
In her If Nostalgia Were Colored Brown series (2013), Nakeya Brown considers the role that hair plays in relation to societal expectations of race and gender. Her still life pictures portray beauty products such as curlers, domed hair dryers, headwraps, and relaxing creams, alongside vintage album covers and against candy-colored pastel backdrops. The images contemplate the political implications of natural hair while calling into question the dominant white standards of beauty in defining contemporary femininity.
Brown’s work has been exhibited at the McKenna Museum of African American Art, New Orleans (2012); Woman Made Gallery, Chicago (2013, 2016); Hamiltonian Gallery, Washington, DC (2017); and the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art, Grand Rapids, Michigan (2017); among others. Brown was the Director’s Pick for the Signature Art Prize Award of London (2015) and received the Museum of Contemporary Photography’s 2017 Snider Prize. She received her MFA in photography from George Washington University in 2017.