8 Pieces That Channel This Creative’s Vivid Take On Redefining Black Femininity


untitled by grace lynne haynesy

Untitled by Grace Lynne Haynes

In honor of Black History Month, Luxe goes beyond the canvas with contemporary artists. Meet Grace Lynne Haynes, and explore a roundup of market finds that complement the hues in her vivid multimedia works. #luxecelebratesblackhistory #diversityindesign

The formation of bold, rich contrasts of color depict beautiful Black women in Grace Lynne Haynes’ paintings. While learned visual rhetoric often associates light and dark with good and evil, Haynes sees the disparity in the shades on the canvas as more harmonious than divisive. As for the subjects, the artist is determined to show her figures as graceful, demure and strong—the kind of complex attributes that Black women traditionally have not been afforded.

Portrait by Nick Romanenko

How did your creative journey begin?

I’ve been making art ever since I could pick up drawing tools. Creating has always been a major part of my identity; however, I didn’t become serious about it until my early 20s. Making the decision to becoming a full-time professional artist ultimately changed the course of my life.

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What led you to paint these cheerful figures?

I have a very extensive figurative background from school and have always been a major fan of figurative works. I consider these women to be self-portraits in a way.


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In what kind of setting or environment are you portraying these women in?

They’re often painted in their own homes and interiors. I am really inspired by the way in which women adorn and decorate their own sacred spaces, and strive to show my figures in their own safe places.

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 Latticino Tumbler and Twist Goblet and by Tracy Glover / $98 each / housesandparties.com

Expand on the significance of your color choices.

Oftentimes, in Western society and religions, dark and light are at odds; however, in my work they coexist. The dark doesn’t represent the sinister or the evil, neither does the light represent the pure and holy.

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What about your experience as a Black woman has informed your art?

Growing up as a Black girl in America I felt as though we were highly visible in the media, but the depth and nuance of our womanhood was invisible. I strive in my work to show images that I wish I would’ve seen as a child, and create a new reality for Black women to exist in.

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Speak to how your work addresses stereotypes surrounding Black femininity.

I observed that the darker you are, the less feminine you are perceived to be, therefore the less protection you receive from society. As an artist, I am determined to show that Black women embody a variety of traits, from softness and gracefulness to strength and demureness.

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Are there any artists or creatives who you cite as an inspiration to your work?

I am a major fan of women artists who have defied the odds and stood for what they believed in. Elizabeth Catlett, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weems and Wangechi Mutu are some of my favorite artists with prominent careers and bodies of work that center around ideas of womanhood.


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Kodiak Table / Price upon request / madegoods.com