GLASSBORO, NJ.- Rowan University Art Gallery
presents 7 Mile Girls, an exhibition exploring the connection between Black female style of Detroits inner city, with designer fashion and self-empowerment. Featuring several new works by artist Jamea Richmond-Edwards alongside paintings loaned by the Rubell Family Collection, the exhibition runs November 7 December 21, 2019.
Richmond-Edwards grew up observing the Black communitys fashion style in Detroits inner-city during the late 1980s and early 90s. Popular and idolized were Coogi sweaters, red gators, and designer bags from Gucci and Louis Vuitton. She understood the correlation of the fashion industry around the Black female experience and their complex relationship with luxury clothing.
The artifice of dressing became the driving narrative of her work and her form of Black aesthetic and expression. She was particularly interested in how her work confronted social disparities and the inequitable practices and tone-deaf decisions continually made by the fashion house of H&M, Adidas, Gucci, and Prada. In opposition to the market focus of these brands her imagery is inspired by the styles of Black designers who have made a positive impact on the fashion perspective, particularly Dapper Dan for Gucci, and the work of Duro Olowu, alongside influences of artists coming out of AfriCOBRA and the Black Arts Movement.
The title 7 Mile Girls refers to the street in Detroit where Richmond-Edwards grew up and where she encountered many of the female subjects in her paintings. Inspired by women in her life, the central female figures in her paintings confront the viewer with an air of confidence and agency as guardians of Black culture. Across her multilayered collages, the artist conveys the complex intersection of Black style, capitalism, fashion, and personal identity through the lens of these resilient Black women.
Jamea Richmond-Edwards graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Jackson State University in 2004 where she studied painting and drawing. She went on to earn an MFA from Howard University in 2012. She offers a repertoire of portraits of women drawn using ink, graphite and mixed media collage. Richmond-Edwards work has garnered the attention of various art critics including in the Washington Post and the Huffington Post's "Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Art Makers Under 40 You Should Know". Richmond-Edwards has exhibited her artwork nationally and internationally including the Delaware Art Museum, California African American Museum, Charles Wright Museum in Detroit, MI, and Galerie Myrtis in Baltimore, Maryland. Her works are in the permanent collection of private collectors across the country including the Embassy of the United States in Dakar, Senegal. She currently resides in Maryland with her Husband and three sons.