Visual artist Nydia Blas met a couple of teenage girls of colour through a Girls’ Empowerment Group she founded. The different ways in which these women communicated, without any language, amused Blas. She decided to capture these in the form of visuals.
“I was inspired by their friendships, the way they supported each other, cared for each other and celebrated their differences. I wanted this work to explore that. In the images, there is a physical closeness that often takes place between pairs, whether it be an embrace or leaning on one another,” Blas told Huffington Post.
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The series, called “The Girls Who Spun Gold”, is a celebration of all “their unity, intimacy, their acceptance and celebration of their unique qualities and differences in complexion, hair type/length, body type, etc.”
The realisation that visual representation of black women was next to zero was life changing for Blas. She chose the theme and stuck to it ever since.
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“I feel as though there is a need for women of colour to make images of women of colour where we can literally see ourselves,” she said. “This is why I have I chosen to currently make images of only women of colour.”
Talking to Fotoroom.co about her intent behind creating “The Girls Who Spun Gold”, Blas says,”The most powerful, supportive, and loving relationships I have ever had, have been with women. My intent was to explore these bonds that I know exist, although we are often told that they do not. I wanted to create a physical and allegorical space where these girls and myself could reside, wherein we reclaim ourselves, for ourselves. As girls, we learn that our bodies and our pleasure are not about ourselves but about pleasing other people outside of ourselves. We do not learn to explore our bodies in the same way that boys do – as a rite of passage, as natural. I wanted my subjects to reclaim, explore, and protect their bodies and sexuality, and to reveal the magic that happens between women and self. I would like this work to state that Black and brown females have a right to pleasure and a right to fantasy,” she said.
Nydia Blas told Fotoroom that one of her goals is to complicate the notion of what it means to be a girl, woman, and a mother, of colour. She says the use of ‘Gold’ in the title is used metaphorically as a reference to “value, specifically one’s personal value versus the value placed upon an individual or group by society at large. Its use questions and assigns value where it has been denied, ignored, or assigned in negative ways.”
The complexities a woman of colour faces oozes out of the photographs Blas creates. “The Girls Who Spun Gold” moves out of the stereotypical portrayal of these individuals and shows them as mothers, warriors, sirens and saints.
Image Courtesy: Fotoroom.co