Fall 2022 explorations

I’m currently experimenting with fabric and clothing as a way to think through my research + practice. This started with an exaggerated gown that is both too tiny and long for the human (femme) body. The design references a dress Josephine Baker wore in one of her many stage performances, in which she wore a blonde wig, lightened her makeup, and sang “Si j’etais blanche!” I came across some press photos of her promoting the number in my research of the historical figure and was immediately struck by the horrifying and sad nature of the images. The dress in these photos served as a signifier for the contradicting ways Josephine manipulated her racial identity for French audiences in the 1920s and gives a telling glimpse of her inner turmoils as a fetishized Black performer thrust onto the world stage.

My work installed in a grad gallery. The length of the garment stretches just above 8 feet.
Closeups of the garment.
Promotional photos of Josephine. These images served as references for the bust and straps of the garment.

Another current work is a large acrylic painted image on paper. Using the same materials as the paper dolls, this giant face plays with the history of caricature, exaggeration, and retro style to create a larger than life image of Josephine. I looked at cartoons and advertising illustrations from the 1920s for inspiration.

The two pieces together in my studio space.

State of Practice exhibtion

I had the pleasure of designing the poster for the State of Practice MFA exhibition. The concept was to illustrate a selection of plants native to British Columbia that bloom during the summer, which speaks to the growth and exploration exemplified in each grad student’s practice from the summer semester.


During summer 2022, I painted this paper doll series and exhibited the work for the State of Practice MFA exhibition. My research turned to Josephine Baker, a complex historical figure who performed fractured identities. As she became an international glamazon in 1920s Paris, she constantly negotiated empowerment and fetishization by leaning into racist stereotypes via exaggerated costume and performance. This series of acrylic painted paper cutouts plays on my prior paper doll series (Mary Pickford & Anita Bryant) while tackling a more complicated figure that resonates with queer Black history.

The series was installed on one long wall in the Michael O’brien Exhibition Commons on Emily Carr’s campus.
Closeup of Josephine in her iconic banana skirt.
Closeup of beauty products sold by Josephine or from the 1920s-30s. Lucky Brown was a prominent Black beauty brand from this time period in the United States. Josephine’s products were only sold to the French public and included bronzer oil and hair gel.
Dolls of Mary Pickford and Josephine Baker. Both figures had several dolls designed and sold in their likenesses, and can often be found now on memorabilia auction websites.