Photographer Amanda López and multidisciplinary artist Tanya Melendez aren’t just looking to change the perception of multicultural art—they’re painting it gold. The two artists are teaming up to put on a photo gallery based on the beauty of women of color and their accessories called Adornment. Taking back the unpopular and ignorant “ghetto” distinction of styles such as braids and big hoop earrings, they are celebrating the regal (and real) stories of the women behind them. Speaking with Remezcla, Melendez went deeper into the strange double-standard between urban style and high fashion: “They’re seen as ghetto or you know the larger the hoop, then the more promiscuous you are, the more sexualized you are…not until they get their hands on it and they make it hip and cool or trendy [is it acceptable.]”
The exhibit started its in Chinatown in March, and was met with rave review but not because of the pictures. But because it’s a powerful snapshot of culture and the betrayal of problematic cultural norms. “We’ve been using these adornments to elevate ourselves, to say that we are worthy, to say that we we have status, we have class,” Melendez added. “And in a way, it connects us to our ancestry. Adorning yourself with all this gold to shine bright to say that yes I’m a queen. I’m a goddess. I am important. I am somebody. And so we wanted to flip that and work with door knockers basically to reclaim it and to elevate it.” Adornment is moving to Sacramento, CA this July, so check it out if you’re in town.