Dancing Girls With Blue Nail Polish
This collage is part of a series inspired by the God Dust twins and Black Americana. These works draw extensively from the artist's Southern Black American heritage. For these compositions on paper, the artist uses archival images of Black children—most often girls—along with acrylic paint and colored pencils. These works—inspired by historical research, personal experience and everyday encounters—reveal the complexity, physical beauty and internal elegance of their young Black female subjects along with their unique experiences. The emotional, physical, and psychological implications of the subjects reflect racial, political, and social concerns that Edwards has experienced firsthand. In each work, the subject is an iteration of the artist at various ages—navigating the isolating tension of being artistically inclined, Black and female in a larger social context that rarely celebrates these categories. Speaking of this series, the artist says: "Growing up I was often the only black girl participating in 'white folks stuff.' I always wondered whether I was truly being viewed as an equal or whether I was a part of 'the Black collection.'"
The recurring black and white stripes along the subjects’ arms and legs represent the pattern of Black expression being interjected by white, Southern expectations in a seemingly endless cycle; they also evoke the liminal state that Edwards has embodied since childhood. The manner in which the artist proportions the figures in these composition is greatly influenced by William Christenberry—an artist native to western Alabama. Christenberry is well known for his photographs depicting isolated objects within landscapes, as well as artistic exploration of the "psychology of place.” In Edwards's work, the faces of most of the subjects appear emotionless. The subjects seem ambivalent, yet deeply aware—hesitant to engage in their environment. However, the vibrant, multi-textured nature of their flared skirts signifies the figures' inherent playfulness; this detail directly contrasts with the restrictive, Pentecostal upbringing Edwards experienced as a youth.
Multi-disciplinary artist Lynthia Edwards is best known for her collages that explore the complex emotions and experiences of Black girls living in the American South. In these works, the artist’s subjects are versions of her younger self; she sources images from her current life both to channel the racial and gendered isolation she experienced as a child, as well as express the strictness of her Pentecostal upbringing. Edwards’ work examines the emotional, physical and psychological implications of her subjects—reflecting racial, political and social concerns that the artist has experienced firsthand.
This work on paper combines archival images of Black children, most often girls, along with acrylic paint and colored pencils. This collage is inspired by historical research, personal experience and everyday encounters—revealing the complexity, physical beauty and internal elegance of their young Black female subjects along with their unique experiences.More