My name is Aisha Jemila Daniels and I’m a visual artist from Miami. I’m a senior at Howard University, where I am studying Fine Art Photography. I took my first photography class at the Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, FL under Noelle Flores Theard back in 2008. In 2009, I decided to enter a fine arts program at Dr. Michael M. Krop Senior High. My years at Krop resulted in my aspiration to prepare for and become a professional photographer.
My inspiration comes from Seydou Keita. He was a Malian photographer, a portraiture master, from the 1940s to ‘60s. He documented the people of Mali so beautifully, showing them as people who take pride in their appearance and are regal. I wanted to take his project further and document the authentic beauty of Afrikans throughout the continent and in her diaspora. That’s when I created Afrikans, which is an extensive photographic documentation of black people on the Afrikan continent and transplanted blacks throughout her diaspora. The purpose of the project is to unify us as one people through revealing to us our aesthetic and cultural similarities, along with restoring the authentic and regal Afrikan image in retaliation to white supremacy in the media.
From years of working on my photography project Afrikans I decided to work on more personal work, realizing that I too am a great subject. I began with a body work entitled Acceptance which focuses on my internal being, allowing self-revelation, which permits an understanding of my own reality, giving me options of ways to move forward. I am learning to be honest with myself, reflecting on how my surroundings have affected me and how I choose to heal. I began developing staged photographs in which I construct a scene of a moment in my life experience and document it. The project is my visual diary. My self-portrait series Acceptance was a pre-cursor for me to create a more complex visual diary. The project will tackle love, family, friendships, romantic relationships, social/political dynamics, spiritual dynamics and overall me. The project will confront who I am, who I want to be, what I actually end up being in that particular moment, and how I’m effected by my surroundings may it be positive or negative.
My first award was given to me back in 2013 by Scholastic, I received their Gold Key award for my ceramic work and was given an exhibition in the Miami Art Museum. During the same year I received my first photographic award, an Honorable Mention award from the Young Arts Foundation. Later in 2015, I received my first award for Afrikans, the Shutterstock Award from Worldstudio AIGA. In 2016 Afrikans was honored with the Creative Conscience Award from London, United Kingdom and the Freedom House Finalist award for capturing human rights.
While studying in the United Arab Emirates, I was fortunate to intern at Art Dubai, which is a leading international art fair for the Middle East, other parts of Asia, and Africa. Also, I received the Student Photographer of the Year Award for my Acceptance series by Martin Grahame-Dunn, one of the leading professional photography trainers of the United Kingdom. He was a judge for Photography Live Dubai, which is an international photography & videography event that serves the Middle East and North Africa. My work has has been published in Gulf Photo Plus of UAE, Femme Fotale Volume III Photo Book, which is a photographic project by women that represents women artists, ConnerSmith Gallery, In The Eleven Journal, The Street Photographer Notebook, Professional Artist Magazine, Positive Magazine, Saraba Magazine of Nigeria, and Photography Live Dubai.
My work has been show in the Miami Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami, Wynwood, Howard University, FRIDGE DC, Krikawa Jewelry Art Gallery, Studio Gallery, World Trade Centre Dubai, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, 555 Gallery, The Cube Gallery of NYU Abu Dhabi, and the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia.
Fem-FragmentsJanuary 8th - February 19th, 2017
Curated by Corrine Gordon & Charlotte Mouquin