AD Kaya Clark
Photo-Artist, Atlanta, GA
Inspired by conversations about the everyday with women of the African diaspora, including life, love, and existence, my photographic practice began by capturing sitters in natural light. Natural light with minimal retouching allowed opportunities for me to highlight their natural beauty and what some would call “imperfections.” Every individual through my lens is a muse. I utilize art to facilitate horizontal exchanges between myself and those featured in my work; photography comprised my initial inquiries in art as a conversational platform.
I use strategies of appropriation and historical revisionism to subvert hierarchies in ways of seeing. For example, in 2013 and early into my artistic development, I completed my first series, Pin-up Project, to challenge the absence of Black women (and women of color) in my research on pinups. Seeking to challenge ideals of beauty and otherness by presenting Black women through a sensuous female gaze, my work is provocation towards colorism, racism, and sexism. In 2015, I extended my exploration of reclaiming Black female agency in my Warrior Women series, which depicted and honored the generational strength of Black women to undermine narratives of Black women as neutered in desire and mind.
My current work reuses my original photographs, paintings and collages, drawing inspiration from the mixed media work of Mickalene Thomas, Renee Cox, and Deborah Roberts and their emphases on figuration. Stylized through abstraction and collage, I am developing a photographic aesthetic of surreal, futurist and Afro-Futurist legacies of diasporic women.