I am interested in how marginalized folks negotiate hostile environments, the mask we wear to get a (head). The shape-shifting, code-switching, exhausting, multiple consciousnesses, and chameleon-like face we (the peripheral intersectional folk) put forward to negotiate these spaces.
Aisha Tandiwe Bell (she/her)
My work explores multiple layers of this existence and the resulting cracked fragmentation of semi-fluid identity.
I make figures out of clay, characters that push through the 2 dimensional space into the 3rd dimension, a metaphor for awareness and change. I work with clay because it is malleable. I like the narrative of its transformation. “I am dirt. Mixed with water I am mud. Thirsty I am fragile. Burn me I am stone... break me I am fragment.” My most recent works are clay and paint on wood. They bring in elements from my scars series but also allow me to collage several narratives and mediums into one work. I am interdisciplinary. Although my core medium is clay, I work in whatever material(s) I feel best answers the problem. I am interdisciplinary. My drawing and paintings have sculptural heads that may become masks in performance or video. I remain consistent in the exploration of visual images. They explain my perception of a world that defines the individual in mass: by the color of skin, the texture of hair, what lies between thighs and coin. I utilize the metaphoric power of multiple meanings.
I am an artist because it is a form of storytelling that is non-linear and whose meaning can shift or be camouflaged. I like the possibility of meaning. I like the layering narrative. I am inspired by my world, by the materials, by my need to say something, and capture a moment in time.
Aisha Tandiwe Bell is first generation Jamaican & ninth generation traceable Black American. Her parents met at City College. Conceived in Tanzania & born in Manhattan, she was Raised Bobo Shanti Rasta spending her early childhood on Bobo hill in Bull Bay, Jamaica. Inspired by the fragmentation of our multiple identities, Bell’s practice is committed to creating myth & ritual through sculpture, performance, video, sound, drawing & installation. Bell holds a BFA, & an MS from Pratt & a MFA from Hunter College. Bell received a NYFA in Performance Art/ Multidisciplinary Work & has had artist residencies/ fellowships at Skowhegan, Rush Corridor Gallery, Abron’s Art Center, LMCC’s Swing Space and Workspace, The Laundromat Project, BRIC , Wassaic Projects, Interlude & more. She has been a fellow with DVCAI on International Cultural Exchanges (Jamaica 2012, Surinam 2013, Antigua 2014, Guadeloupe 2015 & 17, Belize 2020). The Museo De Arte Moderno’s Triennial 2014, The Jamaica Biennial 2014 & 17, The BRIC Biennial 2016, The Venice Biennial 2017, MoCADA, The Rosa Parks Museum, CCCADI, Columbia College, Space One Eleven, Welancora Gallery & Rush Arts are a few spaces where Bell has exhibited her work. Currently a 2022 Dieu Donne Workspace artist in residence, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband & two children.
Play Installation Audio - Trickout by Aisha Tandiwe Bell