Clara Nartey

Maxwell Library, 2nd. Floor
Fall 2024

Clara Nartey

I am a self-taught artist. Inspired by my African heritage which uses fabrics to tell stories and memorialize events, I weave together stories that link people of African descent across its diasporas.

By using inks, threads, fabrics, and symbols, I create vibrant portraits that explore the tapestry of our shared narratives. In challenging the boundaries of what fine art can be, my creative process merges machine embroidery, quilting, and digital art, embracing techniques often sidelined in Western fine art.

In my work, I spotlight intricate Black hairstyles, symbolizing the nuanced dynamics of strength versus vulnerability. Like Black hair, my work explores seemingly contradictory themes — extracting light from darkness, finding joy amid despair, and forming community from our individual quests.

Each piece serves as a mirror, reflecting viewers’ own stories and inviting exploration of universal themes within the context of African history and contemporary experiences.