Heritage, world travel, natural materials and a West African vision take form in the work of multidisciplinary artist Malene Barnett. Expressing the modern black experience within her art, Barnett uses both her work and influence to create and improve discourse on marginalisation within the arts.
Founding the Black Artists + Designers Guild, Barnett offers a platform for black design professionals, providing exposure as well as demonstrating the (often unacknowledged) stark differences and nuances to be found within them. This global collective of independent black creatives serves to take charge of their continued misrepresentation, whilst the online directory allows artists to find each other, for collaborations to flourish, and, of course, for recruitment opportunities.
Brooklyn-based Barnett is masterful in many disciplines, crafting unique handwoven rugs, mixed media paintings, sculptural vases and vessels, and, to our delight, ceramic tiles. Read about her most recent project, Redemption, here.
Her work is best explained in her own words: “My art pays homage to my ancestors. From the local potter and textile weaver to the woodcarver, a dedication to both craft and purpose kept cultural traditions alive and created legacies that continually drive me to push storytelling through my works in clay. My connection to clay is a spiritual one. Unlike other mediums I’ve used in the past, clay carries flexibility in both surface and form, leaving traces of fingerprints to follow the making-process.”
A new post by Hanna Simpson, Diary of a Tile Addict, November 2020.