“Who She Found In The Looking Glass” Explores Concepts Of Self-Identity With Black Women As The Artists And Muses


The Disrupt Agency

A bust of a beautiful Black woman with Bantu knots, a Black queen with a crown of beads, a pair of those signature gold door knocker hoop earrings, and paintings with vibrant yellow, orange, and red hues reminding Black women to “Get Your Rest.”

These are just a few of the amazing works of art that are a part of the “Who She Found in the Looking Glass” exhibition in Los Angeles. The exhibit, which opened on April 22, is the first all-Black women artist group show to premiere at Gallery 90220 and to be curated by a Black woman via a partnership with The Harbor Area Chapter (HAC) Chapter of The Links, Inc.

“This show was made by Black women and for Black women to actually consume and see themselves in it,” says photographer and visual artist Delaney George, who curated the exhibition. “So all of the work that’s going to be shown was created and chosen with the purpose of Black women being able to see themselves in these pieces. So it’s kind of like a 360 mirror effect in that way,” George adds.

“Who She Found In The Looking Glass” Explores Concepts Of Self-Identity With Black Women As The Artists And Muses
Get Your Rest/ Shannon Scates

The show and its meaningful works are meant to amplify Black women artists and give them a platform to express how they see themselves and Black women as primary subjects and inspirations of their pieces. “Who She Found in the Looking Glass” explores three critical layers of perspective to challenge the concepts of self-identity and connection through portraiture: the artist, the muse(s), and the audience.

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“Black women are fine art, but it’s like, let’s start supporting these fine artists as well. They’re the creators of fine art. They’re the muses of fine art. We just need to expose this medium more, so that’s why it’s important for me,” George tells ESSENCE.

The artwork of each chosen artist challenges preconceived notions about what it means to be or develop as a Black woman today. Childhood memories, real-life experiences, and inner revelations have helped shape who these Black women artists are today and how they express themselves through their work.

According to George, this expression is made possible by staring at oneself in the mirror and converting that realization of your self-identity and strength into art. The works of each of the 10 Black women artists selected are meant to be received in the same way they were conceived: as mirrors.

“Who She Found In The Looking Glass” Explores Concepts Of Self-Identity With Black Women As The Artists And Muses
Chipo/ Delaney George

“The theme of the exhibit very much aligns with what I want to inspire through my art – introspection and seeing yourself more clearly. As an artist, I am truly honored to show my work along with so many great Black women artists. I cannot wait to absorb the collective energy that our works create,” says artist Shannon Scates whose “Get Your Rest” series of works are featured in the show. Scates says that the series was mainly inspired by conversations on ease, leisure and the “soft life” that have been major topics of discussion for Black women in recent years.

For Peyton E. “The Artist” Burnett being a part of this all-Black women’s exhibition represents reaching a milestone for something she has always wanted to be a part of.

“Who She Found In The Looking Glass” Explores Concepts Of Self-Identity With Black Women As The Artists And Muses
The Overcomer Peyton Burnett

“The ongoing motif in all of my paintings surrounds the theme of introspection and examines the human experience of mental and spiritual growth. To now have my pieces included in the “Who She Found in the Looking Glass” exhibition, it is a perfect reflection of the direction of my art, my journey as a Black woman, and to what I hope the viewer can gain from what they see and experience in my artwork,” she tells ESSENCE.

Each of these dynamic artists says they hope that people walk away from the experience of “Who She Found in the Looking Glass” feeling inspired and with a different perspective.

“I hope it causes them to have meaningful conversations about how they see themselves and others. I hope the art in this show catalyzes meaningful change in their lives. I also hope they take away some amazing art,” says Scates.

“I hope that people will see my work as well as the works of the other amazing artists and feel hope, encouragement, understanding, and value. We are stronger together, and our voices can pierce through the darkness,” Burnett shares.

The “Who She Found in the Looking Glass” exhibit will be displayed at Gallery 90220 through May 6.

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