Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline – Nakeya Brown

We are excited to present our newest Ctrl+P artist Nakeya Brown. Photographs from two of her series, Hair Stories Untold and If Nostalgia Were Colored Brown, will be on view through December 30, 2017.

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The Art of Drying, 2014 © Nakeya Brown


Nakeya On Hair Politics
“I use photography as a tool to extract and redefine the symbols of femininity. My practice centers itself on black female subjectivity, black beauty, and often uses hair as an apparatus to identify facets of womanhood. I utilize time-specific effects that have racialized, commodified, and cultural relevance in relationship to black women’s bodies and lived experiences. The shower cap, the hot comb, vinyl records depicting images of iconic African-American songstresses, the perm kit, and hair dryers are just a few of the articles I photograph to entwine the materiality of the world with identity formation.”


Hair Stories Untold visualizes the unknown methodologies prevalent within to black feminine hair culture. Each photograph reveals a unique form of self-grooming that poses a beautification process which is both fraught and notable in our memory. Such acts of hair manipulation transform the modes in which personhood can be realized. Within it shared experience, remembrance, and material entities reflect a sense of identity.

Lovin’, Livin’ & Givin’, 2014 © Nakeya Brown

If Nostalgia Were Colored Brown utilizes objects associated with home life and beautification processes as building blocks in constructing identity and black feminine spaces of self-care. Each tableaux is a site where memoirs, intimacy, womanhood, culture, and blackness converge in order to cultivate a sense of nostalgia. Iconic imagery of Diana Ross, Minnie Riperton, Stephanie Mills, Deniece Williams, Natalie Cole, LaBelle, and Melba Moore display the commercial potency of black women’s bodies in popular culture.

Nakeya Brown was born in Santa Maria, California in 1988. She received her BA in Visual Arts and Journalism & Media Studies from Rutgers University and her Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University. Her photography has been exhibited at the McKenna Museum of African American Art, Woman Made Gallery, Hamiltonian Gallery, and The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art. Brown’s work has been featured in New York Mag, Dazed & Confused, The Fader, TIME, and Vice. Her work has been included in photography books Babe and Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze. Brown was awarded the 2017 Snider Prize by the Museum of Contemporary Photography. She currently lives and works in Washington, D.C with her 5 year-old daughter, Mia.


Nakeya’s website
Dazed Digital
The Cut
The New York Times
The Washington Post

Ctrl+P: Photography taken offline is an exciting venture at Catherine Edelman Gallery inspired by the hundreds of photographs we see on blogs and online galleries. Started in January 2011, CEG introduces Chicagoans to new artists we find while searching the web, exhibiting a small selection of one person’s work every two months, taking the pictures offline and putting them on the wall. It is our goal that Ctrl+P will provide further exposure for these photographers away from the glow of a computer monitor and without the temptation to click to the next link. We hope you will join us by unplugging from the internet and visiting CEG to see these photographs the way they were intended — in print.