Profile: Angela Davis Johnson

Angela Davis Johnson is an American painter, mixed-media artist, and ritual performance artist. She currently lives Atlanta, Georgia. She is the mother of two children.

Her work revolves around the evolving identity of African-Americans throughout history, especially African-American women. Davis Johnson’s work has shown in numerous exhibitions including the Delta Exhibition at Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, AR, Texarkana Regional Arts Center in Texarkana, TX, and Baton Rouge Center for Contemporary Art in Baton Rouge, LA. Her pieces can be seen in galleries and private collections throughout the United States.

Early life

Angela Davis Johnson was born in Orlando, Florida. She and her family later moved to Virginia, where she attended Governor’s School for the Arts, an art magnet school in Norfolk, Virginia. Davis Johnson’s interest in art began at a young age. She was first inspired to create art by her mother, who had returned to school for fashion design when Angela was 4 and would share what she had learned with Angela and her siblings. When Angela was 14, she, along with her mother and three siblings, were evicted from their home in Norfolk and moved to Lambrook, Arkansas. Despite being impoverished, her mother encouraged Angela and her siblings to embrace and explore their creativity through singing songs, reading, and whittling, and would purchase art supplies.[4]

Style

Angela Davis Johnson explores “universal connections, identity, and historical occurrences through personal symbols.”Davis Johnson’s work addresses several issues facing black women including trauma, domestic violence, poverty, gentrification, state-sanctioned violence, the silencing of black women, and displacement.

When asked what she hoped people will take away from her body of work, she responded:

I want people to feel the complexity of the embodied experience of black womenhood. I want people to feel that when they see my work. We’re not just superheroes. We are all things. We are souls living this life. I want people to experience that in my work, feel the depths of that. I want people to recognize and feel their soul. See the thing beyond the construct, which is light, you know. To me it’s like the past, present and future. It’s all happening right now in this moment. I want people to feel that when they come by my work, when they’re away from it. I want people to witness all of that in all of our [black women artists’] works.

She incorporates scraps of paper and fabric into many of her oil paintings, an homage to her seamstress mother.

 

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