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  • Writer's pictureMichael Drake

Antoinette Ellis-Williams shows the beauty of African girls

Black beauties: there is power in the sea and on the beach. This multi-layer digital collage uses original photos and artwork to showcase the boldness and beauty of African girls. But their power is linked to the sea. When does this power have to be reclaimed and reconnected?

Antoinette Ellis-Williams is Chair and Professor of Women and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University, where she teaches women the spoken hip-hop word, and social change; Women & leadership; Race, class, gender activism; Diversity & difference; Black femininity.

Dr. Ellis-Williams is a mixed abstract media artist and poet . Her solo visual exhibition Girlhood / UnDone (October-November 2017) was shown at NJCU. She is the author of Black Gardenias: A Collection of Poems, Stories, and Sayings from a Woman's Heart (Semaj Publishing, 2013). Dr. Ellis- is a playwright and actor.Her only women's game, Scarf Diaries, premiered on NJPAC in 2017. Ellis-Williams is an award-winning filmmaker . Her documentary Lee Hagan: Connecting Generations (2016) was named Best Short Documentary at the Newark Black Film Festival.

She is a very popular international speaker and lecturer . Her TedX lecture on Justice in the Land of the Free (2015) tried to unpack her immigrant status in America. Dr. Ellis-Williams is a pastor at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark, where she calls home. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the New Jersey Institute of Social Justice. Dr. Ellis-Williams received her Ph.D. in Public Policy & Urban and Regional Planning. Immigrant. Mother. Wife. Citizen. Black woman of God. Sister. Daughter. Grateful.

My creative process is based on the idea of ​​layering, recycling, reinterpreting and mixing methods. Abstract collages from mixed media are also the focus of the process in conceptual work. I am constantly looking for hidden messages and light under layers. For example, in some of my work, I combine my original work (acrylic and watercolor paintings, silk batik, digital photos and drawings) with prints and digital images found in magazines, newspapers, brochures, textiles, cards and / or various objects.

The picture evolves and changes as the sociopolitical and cultural roadmap changes.

My work examines the layers of my own identity - blackness, girl / woman, mother, woman and immigrant - in the context of popular culture, power, politics, religion / belief, history, music, social movements and socio-economics. The work is a commentary on the structured life of marginalized people. I create pieces to reveal anger, pain, contradiction, beauty, agency , and joy, constantly trying to understand the complex history and narrative of blackness in the United States and the diaspora. Social justice issues emerge in my work.

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