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About Akea Brionne

Baltimore City

Akea Brionne Brown's picture
Akea Brionne's work investigates the intersectional themes of race, socioeconomics, and identity. Her works explores the implications of historical racial and social structures in relation to the development of contemporary black life and identity within America. With a particular focus on the ways in which history influences the contemporary, cultural milieu of the American black middle class, she focuses on how to explore today's African American community, as it relates to historical forms of... more

An Archive of Our Own

An Archive of Our Own explores black maternal relationships through the archive. Both as a critique and exploration of the photographic medium, the historic tin type process is used to display the lack of depth within the medium to correctly expose for darker skin tones. Simultaneously, the portraits begin to frame the relationships between black mothers and daughters, through the exploration of the body and space. This work was made in collaboration with Jay Gould.

  • Round About

    Tintype 8" x 10" 2019 Tintype made in Collaboration with Jay Gould
  • Gram

    Tintype 8" x 10" 2019 Tintype made in Collaboration with Jay Gould
  • Untitled, #2

    Tintype 8" x 10" 2019 Tintype made in Collaboration with Jay Gould
  • Momma

    Tintype 8" x 10" 2019 Tintype made in Collaboration with Jay Gould
  • Holdin' On

    Tintype 8" x 10" 2019 Tintype made in Collaboration with Jay Gould

Black Picket Fences (Part I)

Black Picket Fences is a photographic series encompassing environmental portraiture and documentary photographs of contemporary black households and the everyday lives of those who inhabit them. As a starting point, it became important to consider representation in relation to the formation of black identity, the performativity of blackness, and the ways in which the home transforms into a place of familiarity and/or unfamiliarity depending on who enters the space. In turn, this body of work aims to highlight an often overlooked group in contemporary American culture: the black, suburban middle class. While this group has not been entirely forgotten, it is hard to define. For some, these photographs might be the first and most intimate form of contact or interaction they might have with a black household.

While chasing these interactions and interior spaces, the work was inspired by one central question: If the ethos of the suburban landscape is largely understood as an ideologically “white” space, how do we begin to discuss the paradox of the black suburb and the ways in which it challenges to concept of whiteness? For this work and the unspoken personality of the spaces, it became important to think about the suburban landscape, not simply in terms of a continuous area, but as an object that has the ability to be altered and shaped to benefit those who inhabit it. Black Picket Fences seeks to highlight, dissolve, and reject the racist construction of the suburban landscape by showing blacks who now inhabit the suburban landscape- a space that was never intended to benefit them.

Part I is composed of environmental portraits of subjects in their home. The genders and ages vary. *None of the photographs, subjects, or environments were staged.

Black Picket Fences (Part II)

Black Picket Fences is a photographic series encompassing environmental portraiture and documentary photographs of contemporary black households and the everyday lives of those who inhabit them. As a starting point, it became important to consider representation in relation to the formation of black identity, the performativity of blackness, and the ways in which the home transforms into a place of familiarity and/or unfamiliarity depending on who enters the space. In turn, this body of work aims to highlight an often overlooked group in contemporary American culture: the black, suburban middle class. While this group has not been entirely forgotten, it is hard to define. For some, these photographs might be the first and most intimate form of contact or interaction they might have with a black household.

While chasing these interactions and interior spaces, the work was inspired by one central question: If the ethos of the suburban landscape is largely understood as an ideologically “white” space, how do we begin to discuss the paradox of the black suburb and the ways in which it challenges to concept of whiteness? For this work and the unspoken personality of the spaces, it became important to think about the suburban landscape, not simply in terms of a continuous area, but as an object that has the ability to be altered and shaped to benefit those who inhabit it. Black Picket Fences seeks to highlight, dissolve, and reject the racist construction of the suburban landscape by showing blacks who now inhabit the suburban landscape- a space that was never intended to benefit them.

Part II consists of documentary photographs that were unposed, naturally lit, and transition between interior and exterior examinations of the suburban landscape.

The First Supper

“Racism is so embedded in our history, structure, values, etc. that much of American consciousness operates from racial assumptions that seem natural and therefore resist critical inquiry. But race informs and often distorts African American self-perception and identity formation.” - Karla Holloway

The First Supper is a performance piece addressing the racial stereotyping of food commonly eaten by African-Americans. The title references the famous Da Vinci painting, The Last Supper.

This performace piece alludes the affects of racism on the black psyche; often leading to the rejection of one's own culture. For the majority of my youth, I rejected eating certain foods that were considered "black." Upon years of growth, education, and research, I have come to appreciate the history surrounding this food; commonly referred to as "soul" food. This performance seeks to claim an affinity for the food, while highlighting the long lasting effects of these stereotypes (which can be witnessed in the uncomfortable and unsure way in which the food is eaten).

The live performance lasted for fifteen minutes. These are some photographs and stills of the performance.

The food itself, is comprised of a few typical "soul" food items, including fried chicken, green beans and gravy, mashed potatoes, biscuits, corn, and kool-aid.

Prayin' On Da Bead

Cyanotypes printed on fabric, recontextualized into garments

  • #1

    Cyanotype images printed on fabric then recontextualized into handmade garments.
  • #2

    Cyanotype images printed on fabric then recontextualized into handmade garments.
  • #3

    Cyanotype images printed on fabric then recontextualized into handmade garments.
  • #4

    Cyanotype images printed on fabric then recontextualized into handmade garments.
  • #5

    Cyanotype images printed on fabric then recontextualized into handmade garments.
  • #6

    Cyanotype images printed on fabric then recontextualized into handmade garments.

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