Jewel Ham

Region: South

 bell hooks describes “talking back” as “a form of conscious rebellion against dominating authority.” My work intends to speak with the same voice, approaching narrative portraiture as an act of resistance.

As the Black experience and its accompanying culture continue to define popular and consumer culture alike, our individual narratives are historically ignored and/or over-commodified, leaving many of us socially and economically displaced. Despite the continued history of social disservice, creativity remains integral to our identity. Black folk across resource brackets continue to exist as originators and tastemakers alike. With attention to the unapologetic wit and innovation inherent to the Black experience, I intend to amplify our narratives through authentic and accessible visual representation.

My work aims to undress the emotional realities that often accompany various facets of “everyday” Black life. With these sentiments hinging on casual existence, I present chaotic imagery against a backdrop of commonplace. Heavily influenced by Black popular culture and the unapologetic lyricism in Black femme rap, I manipulate wordplay, sensuality, and symbolism to aestheticize an intimate view of inner turmoil.