LaNia Roberts

We lack empathy for each other, especially those most marginalized in society. In my practice, I utilize some of the central tenets of Cubist ideas to create multiple perspectives within a single composition in order to explore my subjects’ complex identities. This, in turn, invites a more holistic approach to viewing (and considering) the Black body. To create my works, I collage multiple drawn bodily elements of my subjects into a single image, painting multiple layers simultaneously until a unified, final scene emerges. Loosely inspired by how Fauvists "liberated color," I place my subjects within their natural environments but employ arbitrary colors to render their skin to urge us to think about liberation in our daily lives. My most recent paintings are set in my late great-grandmother's kitchen in Louisville, Kentucky, exploring the happenings that continue to occur within that domestic space. We contain multitudes and many “truths,” and I am interested in how we might look or act one way, yet feel or think a dozen other ways. I live and work in my hometown of Louisville. Being Black in a state that is widely known for the predominantly white Appalachian community, I never grew up with pride for where I came from. Studying multiculturalism in South Africa while engaging with and respecting their many cultures led me to recognize that I had a unique culture in Kentucky that I could similarly appreciate. Spending time and working in residence at Black Rock would empower me to further explore Black diasporic cultural ways of practicing “liberation” within familial and communal relationships while making new artworks. I aim to make lifelong friends and spend time with families in Senegal, and by doing so, gain a greater sensitivity within my own cultural practice through cross-cultural learning. I hope to embody these new perspectives as inspiration for and education towards the contents of my paintings.