Arena for Contemporary African, African-American and Caribbean Art

Nakeya Brown






Nakeya Brown, 1988, Santa Maria, CA.


From Hair Studies Untold series, 2014.










Each photograph I compose is a reflection of my African American female identity positioned within hair politics, hair rituals, and black culture. The scope of my work reconstructs racialized beauty standards and defines the bountiful actualities of African American women. I am inspired by personal girlhood memories and experiences of adulthood— most of which are situated at the center of each photographic piece.

NBTheRefutation of Good hairmuse1_1The Refutation of Good Hair series, 2014.

I employ my own body or the bodies of others to stage striking and analytical representations of women of color. Paired with formal qualities such as balance, color, and simplicity I design each portrait and still life into a harmonious rendering of black femininity. I source previously owned objects associated with home life, such as vinyl records, house plants, and dinner utensils, along with beautification devices, such as the hot comb, shower cap, and hair dryer to create comely spaces of black womanhood.

NBIfnostalgiawerecoloredbrownFrom If nostalgia were colored brown series, 2014.

Nakeya Brown was born in Santa Maria, California 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 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, D.C with her 2-year-old daughter, Mia. (text website artist)

NBSealingEndsfromHair storiesUntoldSealing Ends, from Hair Stories Untold series, 2014.


Shower Cap, from Hair Stories Untold series, 2014.

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Copyright photos: the artist.