Dani Smith


“Fueled by her identity as an African American woman, Dani’s artistic curiosity currently lies in identity formation, particularly in young black girls as they are faced with the challenge of absorbing, integrating or rejecting Eurocentric aesthetic ideals and traditions.

Dani’s work also questions intra-racial issues within black communities in relation to race, class, gender and religion. To explore this tension, she engages the histories and traditions of painting to mirror the discourse of societal organization. Her work investigates how the physical medium of paint and the methods of execution can influence the content depicted on the surface as well as discovers an overlap between medium hierarchy and social politics associated with race and class.

Dani’s studio practice is both a template and a self-portrait. It is a guide to examine select facets of blackness as she discovers new boundaries of her identity and the social arenas it occupies. The space she explores through painting, installation, and writing is the feeling of being neither here nor there, belonging but displaced, being black, being white, French Creole, female, a fetish, a threat, a dream, a reality, an ideal, a hybrid, a sellout, suburban, the little yellow girl, high yellow, whitewashed, minority, mixed, a mimic. Dani works through these categories to discover how they are embraced or rejected and interrogate the space between race, societal construction and medium. Social construction dictates how one moves throughout society and influences individual experiences. Since the compilation of these experiences does not lend themselves to orderly categorization, identity becomes fractured.

Dani uses her background and experiences as an illustration of an identity in difference against prevailing stereotypes and social norms while investigating what characterizes the transparency or opacity of these labels as they are influenced by intersections of gender, race, class and medium.”

You can see more of Dani’s work here .

All images and text from danismithstudio.com


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