From the start of 2017, ArtsyWindow has been collaborating with the Experience Magazine, an independent virtual magazine established by creatives from the Bronx that focuses on Black and Latinx artists. Please read the long form article by ArtsyWindow below featured in the Spring 2017 female empowerment issue on theexperiencemag.com starting on page 62 in the virtual magazine.
Female Creatives in the Art World Today
By Kiara Ventura
In today's political climate, black and brown female-identified artists have many notions against us including our gender, our culture, and identity. We are constantly being reminded by the media and US Politics that who are are is wrong and this can often result in feeling discouraged in our art and creations.
As of March 2017, Trump plans to eliminate essential arts program such as National Endowment for the Arts, Art Works, and Institute of Museum Services according to CNN Politics. After seeking to defund Planned Parenthood, he continues in attempting to restrict access to abortion and Obamacare`s important health benefits such as maternity leave and access to preventive services such as birth control as stated in Fortune.com. According to The Hill, even though the funding for Domestic Violence program before the Trump administration was already insufficient, he plans to cut from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) even more.
With this triggering combination of attacks on our well-being and practice, we cannot help but feel personally attacked. Even with this increasing pressure, many black and brown females are responding loud and clear as an act of resistance. As a mode of making our voices heard, we are creating and uniting now more than ever and this wave of female empowerment within our community is especially affecting female artists and entrepreneurs in New York City. Because as we all know participating in the Women`s March and waving a sign in the air is not enough in the midst of the many voices that were not represented in the March (but that's a whole other story). Therefore, it's appropriate zoom in on three females in particular to get a glimpse of how female creatives and influencers are making their voices heard in the NYC art scene today.
With the lack of support from political systems, we are often left to take care of ourselves and eachother. This idea is part of the motivation behind Melanin NYC, an online publication that prides itself as a “Black Girl Collective,” focuses on sisterhood, and often writes articles about mental health, music, and lifestyle. Created by the Shavonne Taisha in 2015, Melanin NYC was partially pushed by her dealing with a relationship break up. While she was beginning the publication, she was battling domestic violence with her then partner. “During those times [of being a relationship with a person with a violent history against women] it was very hard cause that was when I started Melanin NYC and I sometimes paused in my creations,” Taisha said. She realized that getting through this personal struggle involved not only self-love but by being a part of loving sisterhood. “We are a group of women who celebrate one another and our accomplishments. As women, we carry so many struggles, and obligation and expectations but when it comes to sisterhood and we get together...we have to power to be completely powerful.”
Poet Roe Black literally uses her voice through the art of spoken word to emphasize the injustices against the black community, her spirituality, personal experiences, and sexism. Black produces work under the name “roeZart” and recently released an EP in early March of 2017. As she grows as an artist, Black battles sexism and tries to stay true to her values. “Especially in the music industry they feel like females have to be sexy to make it. And I don't believe that you can be smart and sexy at the same time. You can be a multifaceted women. So I`ve been really careful about the opportunities that I come across.” While listening to the EP, most might identify her flow as rap however she still identifies herself simply as a spoken word artist. Whether it's through spoken word or her music, her poetic flow and vibrant use of words make an impact on creating change within our community. When asked how she maintains herself despite the pressures of society, she responded, “I try staying around people that are positive, I cut a lot of negative people out of my life. Not that I lost love for them but you have to take care of yourself and guard your energy.”
Rocio Marie is known a unapologetic Dominican-American artist from NYC and her paintings of female multicolored emotional characters. As a full-time artist, she focuses her practice on painting and sculpture and her artistic style which stems from qualities she was once ashamed of having as a little girl. “As a little girl things that would make me self-concious...I have a bigger nose and my big hair, like things that would bother me, I`d draw out. All my girls have similar lips and big noses. I feel like they are all self-portraits,” Marie said. Through focusing on qualities that once weakened her self-esteem, Rocio found her strength as an artist: honesty. “As humans, we all feel like shit sometimes. I think my art is very honest about that and seeing it maybe can be healing or at least makes you feel like you are not alone. I want to show that feeling like shit can be beautiful or cute and colorful and sparkly.”
Through being open about themselves and issues in society these young female influencers are positively impacting the creative world and making a strong statement. They are part of the current push towards female empowerment and combating stereotypes of how society thinks a women should be. Whether it's through creating a sisterhood, performing spoken word, or creating art works, these women are prime examples of how women are currently making their voices heard in artistic ways and representing the female creative community with pride.
To see more, visit theexperiencemag.com