The Celebration Series, 2017
The Celebration Series is photograph portraits of black women embracing their skin, heritage and identity within their nationality.
The make-up of her nationalities and culture are what make her look the way she does, no matter how light, dark or in between her complexion may be, she is a representation of her history. With this work, I’ve taken young natural black women, the colours of their national flag and physically painted the colours onto their skin as if painting on their national identity.
A sense of pride is engrained in each woman as the colours are painted on her skin. She is reminded of the country where her family first established it’s roots and refers to as home. Knowing the place where it all began is a rare feeling for a lot of African American families as a result of the African Diaspora that displaced millions of black individuals and families across multiple regions. For many African American families, a sense of “home” or knowledge of their roots and country of origin is not known . For those of us who are lucky enough to know about and understand our pasts, it gives us a sense of identity and we come from a place of celebration and honour for our country. From the customs, the dress, the food, the upbringing and much more it is like we are a part of something much bigger than ourselves and value it deeply.
Our experiences as black women are all different and should be treated as such. Within the series book, I have created chapters for each model. Each chapter begins with the name of the country of origin the model is representing. Alongside the images, in each chapter, I have included short personal narratives, words of each woman involved in the series. Explaining what their country means to them, how they see their skin as a representation of their history and their personal experiences embracing what it is to be from that country, this is meant to individualize the experiences of each woman.
The Celebration Series is meant to be one of an uplifting spirit, it is meant to be aesthetically pleasing to emphasize the beauty of these women while recognizing their honour associated with their national identity.
All images taken with Canon T5i (18-135mm lens)
Make Up Artist - Mariah Alexandra