Zsudayka Nzinga (she/her/hers) (pronounced zoo-day-kuh)
I am a mixed media artist and designer. I consider my studio practice to be cultural anthropology in that I aim to capture and archive through my work the history and culture of Black Americans. I’m very interested in what happens when Black American artist work and narratives are included alongside American art without requiring the Black artist to center their identity in trauma or politics and whether the sight and existence of Black faces is enough to make our work, voice and existence inherently political. My works seeks to normalize the day to day of Black Americans and celebrate culture while also highlighting moments shared by all humans. We all sit in the house, we all water our plants, we are all living an existence with more similarities than differences. My work challenges viewers to include Black stories in American stories. Told through the lens of personal experience, I use acrylic, decorative paper, hand dyed paper, linocut stamp, ink, vinyl, marker, metal, fabric and thread to create images of proud and beautiful people who celebrate who they are. My sculpture and jewelry work uses metal and wire and precious gems.
My collage work uses Chigiri to assemble initial layers of interior design and sometimes for complete portraits. I use African scraps of fabric to hint at the remnants of African identity but create new textile designs and interior aesthetics and clothing that are wholly American. I paint photorealistic portraits and then abstract the figures to look like quilted pieces of fabric. My work invites viewers to experience the ways that my friends and elders and peers decorate and design ourselves, our homes and our moments. It is a way to engage in our culture without a traumatic narrative attached.
My works are currently part of two ongoing studio series titled The Many Rooms, which examines how my family and peers have navigated the world as it changed in 2020, and The Way We Move, which celebrates the rich history of emotions attached to visiting Black dance theater growing up.