PDN Photo of the Day

Rising Above a Devilish Fire: Portraits of Black Americans

“But what of Black women?…I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire.” – W.E.B. Du Bois

“By centering her work around social justice, specifically in regard to Black Americans, community becomes the key to liberation,” reads Makeba Rainey’s artist statement.

Rainey’s project, “The Soul(s) of…”, now on view under the Brooklyn Bridge as part of the Photoville photography festival, archives people’s histories as the landscapes of their urban neighborhoods change. “Soul(s) of…” consists of two components: 16-20 digital collage portraits of Black women living in gentrified communities and an interactive online archive of their stories. The archive provide a glimpse of what was, and create a community for folks with similar experiences.

This year is the 150th anniversary of W.E.B. Du Bois’ birth year. The title of the project – “The Soul(s) of…” – pays homage to Du Bois, who often wrote about how extraordinary Black Americans are in the face of oppression.

Originally from Harlem, New York, Rainey’s creative practice focuses on building community. A self-taught artist, she’s best known for her digital collage portraits of contemporary and historical Black icons. Rainey’s work has been exhibited internationally. She is a 2017 Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project, a 2018 member of Vox Populi gallery in Philadelphia, a 2018 CFEVA Fellow, a 2018 Season III NARS resident Artist, and an Absolut Art artist.

The Soul(s) of…
By Makeba Rainey
Through September 23, 2018

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