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Aisha Tandiwe Bell
brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant



ARTIST STATEMENT: I am a reflection of society. My work is a dual narrative, commenting on public and internal identities tied to race, sex and class. I’ve long been making clay heads, life size high-relief portraits of stereotypes, mostly women, all black, my altered egos. Their bodies have always been drawn. Awareness is the first step to freedom. Sculpted the consciousness pushes into the third dimension as my metaphor, for revolution. These heads became mask that I wore in performances and videos to depict the weight and burden of identity. Realizing that we unconsciously embrace some categories, the work began an exploration of individual, insecurities, self prescribed traps, walls, armor, masks, and stereotypes that are worn/carried out of habit, comfort, and fear. Influenced by Du Boisian “double consciousness” and Jacques Lacan’s shape shifting subconscious I realized that we have many identities and like chameleons they shift according to our surroundings. Interested in African and Indigenous ideas of “the trickster” and “the crossroads”, “getting a head”, “putting our heads together”, “bootstrapping”, and “chasing de crown” my bone white androgynous many headed series all speak to our ability to transform, resist and escape traps while exploring ideas of transformation, multiplicity, indecision, confusion and balance.
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