Stephen Hamilton

Region: Northeast

 I identify simultaneously as an artist, educator, and researcher. My work incorporates both Western and African techniques, blending figurative painting and drawing with resist-dyeing, weaving, and woodcarving. Each image is a marriage between the aesthetics and artistry of both traditions. As a Black American trained in traditional West African art forms, I treat weaving, dyeing, and woodcarving as ritualized acts of reclamation. I use traditional techniques and materials native to West Africa to reclaim ancestral knowledge dissociated from Africans in the Americas during the transatlantic slave trade. I use these time-intensive techniques as a way to honor and reclaim Black labor. The work heavily references the Black body in precolonial African art history, creating visual connections between the past and the present by glossing African symbolism and iconography. This forms a body of work that serves as a conceptual and visual bridge between the ancient and modern worlds. Through this, I explore elements of Black identity through time and space on its own terms.