Photographer of the Week #150: Nakeya Brown

Nakeya Brown was born in Santa Maria, California in 1988. She received her BA in Visual Arts and Journalism & Media Studies from Rutgers University.

Brown’s work centers around the complex politics of the black female experience, utilizing elements of stylized still life, and playful yet subversive portraiture. Brown’s photographs dissect standardized practices of beauty through the context of race specific objects, revealing the powerful semiotic possibilities of i.e the hot comb or the weaved extension and their active role in the identity of the black female body. Each image investigates the political implications connected to white supremacist oppression of black hair, along with the representation of beauty rituals as shared experiences of nurture and self preservation.

“The shower cap, the hot comb, vinyl records depicting images of iconic African-American songstresses, the perm kit, and hair dryers are just a few of the articles I photograph to entwine the materiality of the world with identity formation. Through my work, I hope to expand the bountiful actualities of African-American women.”

Brown’s work is currently on view in “Public Displays of Privacy” at the District of Columbia Art Center, open Sept 9-Oct 16th. As well as in “Defy/Define” at Transformer Gallery, DC, open Sept 17-Oct 22nd. For more information check out her website: