I wanted to do something different this time with the column, a little more personal. Let me introduce you to this weeks individual feature.
Who: Rashayla Marie Brown
What? Well she does a lot of things, her presence captured me and I wanted to know who exactly she was and what is she doing?!
When? I saw and met her for the first time at an Afro-Futurism talk she hosted at SAIC, and since then we’ve been running into each other at different events and now our circle of people intertwines.
Why? I am captivated by a magical moment, to me there is always goodness in a genuine strong presence, Rashayla and I joke that we are the “turban twins” because every time we see each other our hair is covered. I wanted to spotlight her not for any one particular reason but if it had to be one it would be to say Rashayla keep doing you!
I asked her what was her inspiration for her photography with one of my favorite pictures being “Snow Queen” (hopefully she’ll allow me to frame it) and Rashayla said: My photography is inspired by way more things than actually appear in the final work. I'm trying to think of ways to expand my installation and writing to hopefully touch on some of the things that simply cannot be in the image because I'm pretty minimalist. On an aesthetic level, I'm inspired by women's bodies, extreme use of color and contrast, the simplest expressions of beauty like symmetry, minimalism meeting excess, and cinematic and painterly composition. On a mental level, when I'm shooting, I'm thinking about subtle expressions of femininity, images that play on language, signifiers of race, gender and class, performativity, and the images I've consumed through album covers, magazines, and books all my life.
Rashayla put together the amazing Black Radical Imagination 2.0 screening and talk I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, currently she’s working on her own photography within her practice. I will be sure to post about any upcoming projects she has coming.
I am so happy to have the opportunity to call you a friend, I'm proud of you!!
Love & Sunshine