About the Artists
Baker and Fordyce both received their BFA’s from the Cooper Union School of Art in 2016.
Quinci Baker is a Brooklyn based artist, from Prince George’s County, MD. From a young age, she always had a desire to understand her ancestry. On the weekends, she would visit her grandparents in Richmond, which almost always resulted in her Nana sitting with her at the kitchen table and showing her a family portrait from the 1920’s. The faded black-and white photograph of over twenty relatives would come to life when her Nana pointed to every person with a pen, describing them in detail. Sitting in the center of the photograph was Quinci’s great-great grandfather, a distinguished man with a gray beard and Afro who heavily resembled Frederick Douglass. This would be the most comprehensive image of an otherwise fragmented family heritage.
As Quinci began to inquire about other strands of her family history, the erasure of black enslaved people in the US increasingly had an affect on her. On one hand making her feel lost and distant from her ancestry, on another, connecting her with so many like her. She began to prioritize to uncovering these histories lost, and breathing life into individuals branded, and generalized. Her work uses synthetic hair to acknowledge the artistry and cunningness of those before her who sculpted atop their own heads and those they loved. Her connections to agriculture, religion and the inherited mourning she shares with other descendants of enslaved peoples deeply influence her work.
Atisha is a Newark based artist who was raised in Georgetown, Guyana until the age of nine. Her mother was a public school Spanish teacher during the week and a food vendor on the weekends. Her father sold provisions; plant and animal stocks from his old white truck, which was instantly recognizable for the full-length portrait of “Shakka Zulu” painted on both truck-bed sides. Folks knew her father as “Shakka” when he and his truck would roll through the neighborhood and his deep, jovial voice, over a red and white horn, would announce the day's provisions. Sometimes she accompanied her parents on the weekends, but most often was taken to stay with her grandparents in Supply Village, Mahaica. There, she remembers running through the warm, breezy countryside for most of the day with cousins.
These trips were the highlight of her childhood and the base for her current body of work. Growing up with such close access to nature, she reflects on familial characters surrounded by fauna, trees, open spaces and natural light. Her characters are family members; some more connected to the realm we exist in and others dwelling on plains we cannot physically access. These connections give Fordyce the space she needs to explore her own longing for home and exploration of cultural hybridity. She draws from her memories of these childhood spaces, her family and how their beauty and poise inspire her.