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Aliyah Mickens

About the Artist

Aliyah Mickens is an African-American portrait artist who works with acrylic, oil paint, textiles, and other materials. She uses painting to tell a narrative about her own experiences and deconstructs and explores fragmented realities about preconceptions and race that she believes will better enlighten and further prove how unique and assorted people’s lives are despite their skin color. This is not Aliyah fleeing the culture and history that comes with being brown, but rather embracing the facts and using them to not be separated from others. Aliyah was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she developed her love of art at a young age but didn’t pursue it seriously until she moved to Texas in 2019 to pursue her Bachelor of Arts in Painting at Texas State University.

About Artist’s Work:

My collection consists of self-portraits or representations of myself in my home. My
house was chosen since it is the only place where one can completely be
themselves. This series is really about me, and it’s also about recognizing
and analyzing the various categories I’ve been assigned to. Individuals are
typically lumped into one of several categories or roles in society. It’s no
secret that certain groups of people share a number of characteristics. Due
to my brown skin, I am always grouped with other black folks. However,
skin is merely a hue, and beneath it is a diverse range of civilizations,
ethnicities, races, and tales. A brown girl from Chicago is not the same as a
brown boy from Africa, nor is a brown girl from Texas the same as an
Oregon-born brown girl. I’m also lumped in with other big ladies or
overweight people, which comes with its own set of preconceptions and
mental strains. Another one of my categories is being a part of the PCOS
community, which is made up of women who have an excess of
testosterone and experience symptoms including hair growth, weight gain,
acne, and even personality swings. With Four Corners, I’ll show you my
everyday challenges and mundane life. This series is about ME since it’s
the only true narrative I’ve ever heard. The intention of this collection is to
focus on my domestic surroundings in order to show how we are at our
most authentic and unique when we are at home… If these walls could talk,
they would be experts in everything you know, according to an old adage,
but its origin is unknown, and it is usually used as a warning. Four Corners
utilizes my life experiences to question, analyze, and rewrite the physical
and mental image of who a person is, independent of preconceived
preconceptions and categories.

What does “Home” mean to you: 

Home is a collection of things for me. It’s a combination of people who make you feel at ease, a warm, inviting environment, and a space where you can be yourself. My home is wherever I am with my mother, brother, boyfriend, and sister. My siblings make me feel youthful, and they bring out my goofiest side. My mum makes me feel safe and protected. My partner, on the other hand, is everything that makes me feel at ease. But even when I’m not with my family, a place I call home is a place where I don’t feel judged and can fully embrace myself.

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