For the latest exhibit in our solo room, each of the 12 girls in the 2015-2016 Space of Her Own (SOHO) Old Town class used a film camera to create a series of portraits and “hairtraits.”
Nakeya Brown, an award-winning photographer who is known for exploring the complexities and politics of African American hair in her own work, introduced the SOHO girls to color photography as a method of self-expression and cultural pride.
Emphasis was placed on providing the girls with valuable lessons about the techniques and aesthetics of photography, while simultaneously creating a space for reflection and critical thinking. The girls were encouraged to work directly with one another to capture portraits and photograph their unique day-to-day “hairtraits.”
Nakeya Brown was born in Santa Maria, CA in 1988. She received her BA in Visual Arts and Journalism & Media Studies from Rutgers University. Her work has been exhibited at the McKenna Museum of African American Art, Woman Made Gallery, Vivid Solutions Gallery, and Mason Gross Gallery. Brown’s work has been reviewed by New York Magazine, The Washington City Paper, African & Afro-Diasporan Art Talks, ForHarriet, and has been published by international publications Hysteria and Tonelit. She is a recipient of the Hortense May Boutell, Richard T. Evans, and Winifred Todd Farah endowments. She is currently pursuing her M.F.A at The George Washington University. Nakeya lives in Washington, DC with her 3-year-old daughter, Mia.
SOHO, a “Space of Her Own,” is an award-winning outreach program that engages at-risk, low-income, fifth-grade girls in a year of personal growth centered on art. This special collaboration between The Art League & the City of Alexandria’s Court Service Unit pairs each girl with an adult, female mentor to participate in art lessons led by Art League artist instructors. Each week, girls & mentors work together to create expressive artwork. These sessions become the catalyst to discuss larger life concerns, decision-making, & emotional issues. At the completion of the program, the teams remodel each of the girls’ bedrooms, incorporating all of their artwork, to truly give each girl a “space of her own.”
The 2016 SOHO Photography Exhibit is open through January 31.