BIPOC Creator: Antoinette Cauley

This week’s BIPOC creator feature is local Phoenix-based artist Antoinette Cauley. Antoinette is a Phoenix native and studied art at Mesa Community College. She apprenticed with oil painter Chris Saper and is now known for her hip hop and urban-influenced work. Antoinette is an educator and an activist, teaching inner city youth how to paint. Her work focuses on her own internal struggles, as well as modern social issues and rap culture. Antoinette was named best local artist by AZ Foothills Magazine in 2017 and 2018 and was featured in Phoenix Magazine’s “Great 48:48 Influential People in the State of Arizona.” Her most recent project was a portrait of the late poet and novelist James Baldwin, which was transformed by Jason Harvey into a mural on the side of his Ten-O-One office building in the heart of the Roosevelt Arts District in downtown Phoenix. The installation of this mural was in response to the Black Lives Matter movement that took place earlier this year.

Antoinette’s work is colorful and striking. It plays with the public imagination of the black community in a way that exposes the fears that often come with inner city youth. Her paintings ¬†display images of young Black girls in powerful positions with dynamic juxtapositions that challenge the viewers perception on gender roles, childhood trauma and the influence of pop culture on our youth.¬† It is a brilliant way for a black rights activist such as Antoinette, who works with inner city youth on a regular basis, to shine a light on societal misconceptions that encompass the lives of black youth.

Be sure to take a look at Antoinette’s Instagram, Twitter, and website. If you are interested in finding out more about Antoinette’s personal life and the motives behind her work, check out this interview conducted earlier this year by the Phoenix Art Museum.

BIPOC Creator: Leslie Marmon Silko

Join us in taking a look at our first BIPOC creator feature, Leslie Maron Silko. In this series, we will attempt to highlight female and BIPOC creators to go along with this semester’s theme of social justice.

Leslie Marmon Silko was born was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico near the Laguna Pueblo reservation and stayed there until she graduated from the University of New Mexico. She is a Native American author and an influential figure in the 21st century Native American Renaissance. She is the author of eleven novels and has codified several traditional stories from the Laguna Pueblo Tribe. Her writing ranges from Native American folklore to postmodern literature, and focuses heavily on the presence of racism and white imperialism in America. One theme that is of particular interest in her writing is time as a circular concept, as most Native American communities view it. Her writing draws from the cultures and traditions she grew up immersed in and the struggles for Native American communities to retain their identity in an Anglicized America. Leslie, along with being a Native American rights activist, is also an avid women’s rights activist. Leslie has taught at several universities across the United States including two in Arizona, Navajo Community College and University of Arizona.

Be sure to check out what Poets.org and the Poetry Foundation have to say about Leslie.