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Semaj Campbell

Untitled, 2020, Inkjet print, Courtesy of the Artist.

Visit Semaj Campbell’s website

Instagram: @semaj.doc

Hear from the Artist



Revisiting classical paintings and the context in which they were produced, has provided me with an understanding of the arts and history. Studying classical pieces such as, Olympia by Manet, A Portrait of A Negress by Marie Guillermine Benoist, Moorish Bath by Jean- Leone Gerome and more, have assisted me with developing my voice in my work, while challenging the historical black narrative in art history. My series explores the recontextualization of classical paintings that reference various elements of “Renaissance”. Renaissance is defined as a rebirth, usually in reference to the revival of art and literature. My work embodies the concept of rebirth through reimaging beauty through my gaze, a Black gaze, where black bodies are the focal point as empowered figures.The work navigates through the neoclassical art spaces, exploring and creating a liminal space between past and present.The iconic, Black contemporary elements serve as tools for an embracing-espousal to the Black audience navigating the scenes, in hopes of establishing a visceral connection to the work through familiarity.