Reisha is an artist that is constantly redefining boldness. Vibrant color and dynamic subject matter are recurring elements of her interdisciplinary process and prominent features of her work in O’ Freedom, My Beloved. As a black female artist in the fine art space, Reisha has a unique perspective on strength, confidence, and womanhood in general.
Q. Recently there has been a sense of urgency among black women to step into leadership roles in this country. Graduation rates have reached unprecedented percentages in 2016 and 2017, rates of entrepreneurship among black women have been on a steady incline, and in 2018 there have been more black women than ever participating in the political process. How does your work in O’ Freedom, My Beloved speak to the mindset of reclamation among black women today?
A. First and foremost, I celebrate these statistics and the women who are motivated to pursue their dreams in entrepreneurship, corporate America, or even politics. My work intends to highlight that same drive to succeed in your passions, whatever they may be. I seek to pull the eye inward to where that leader has always been. In my work, her attitude is the key. The attitude opens the door to the goodness that is already there and to wealth and success. It reclaims, commands and drives toward whatever is desired. I prefer to see these statistical successes --- the mindset of reclamation--- as a movement toward shedding the story or struggle and of lack.
Although many have struggled, myself included, it has always turned out to be a lesson, a guide from the universe to put me in the place/space I’m supposed to be. The more we promote the idea of seeing the “harder” experiences as opportunities for greatness, the more people will be motivated to perceive obstacles simply as stepping stones. I intend to tell different stories through my work, pouring my heart and time into a celebration of GREATNESS! Abundance and love are out there, even for women enduring the hard times, as well as the women steering their own ship. These statistics show that.
Q. A major theme of O’ Freedom, My Beloved is possessing the confidence to create a present that positively impacts the future. According to your bio confidence is also a major theme in your work. What does confidence mean to you?
A. Confidence is the freedom and the ability to express myself, without worrying about the judgement of others. Of course, I have my insecurities but being sure of myself is what I was taught, mostly what I saw, and all I know. I moved around a lot as a kid and was often the new girl. I HAD to have game!! Because of that, I can go anywhere and talk to anyone (most of the time).
Q. ’Climb Up Out that Shit’ is such a relatable and authentic title in terms of the black, female experience. Can you share your motivations behind choosing the title?
I usually start a piece with a general idea of what I’m working towards. My work is very layered, so there are many times I have no idea how it will turn out. I titled the piece Climb Up Out That Shit because that’s what it looked like she was doing. The texture, the colors and some of the markings under her made me feel like she was pulling herself Up, getting herself out and leaving ‘That Shit’ behind. She was rising out of something heavy but she was rising nonetheless. I wish it was more magical but that’s the truth.
Q. Historically fine art has been predominantly white and male centered. How can black women play a more prominent role in the fine arts space in the next 10 years?
Black woman need to start seeing themselves as artists first! No other group starts off describing their nationality before their craft. My blackness is important, being one of the first things you notice when you see me BUT I don’t need to qualify that for the world.
Black female artists should use some of their creativity in how they get their work out in front of people. Don’t always try for what is easy. Don’t always show your work at black galleries. Don’t always do all black shows. Please understand that I am not saying that these galleries and shows are not important because they very much are. They’ve given black artists a platform. But I’m saying that we also need to get out of our comfort zone, diversify and do the unusual. Apply for grants, residencies, competitions and museums that you may not normally apply for. Once you start getting selected for things, the energy surrounding your work will attract more. People start to notice, purchase, and talk. That is when you break barriers.
This process often requires several hours of administrative work that takes concentration away from creating art, so one must be strategic. If this is a full-time pursuit and the budget allows, hire someone to help you do it. If the budget is really tight, hire a college student and offer credit hours. Figure it out!! It’s an investment in your legacy!!
To really play more of a defining role in the fine arts space, Black women need to also start targeting and showcasing their work via investment portfolios, asset backed securities and auction houses which are historically more known and utilized in the white communities. Many wealth managers include fine art in their investment strategies, and it is important that black women position themselves to be considered for those portfolios. If you don’t know how to start that process find someone who does. I’m investing in my legacy. We all need to.
About the Artist
Reisha’s art life started when she was born, and slowly evolved into photography. As she aged, collaging and painting emerged.
Reisha and Art are still on their honeymoon, and hope to never settle.