First appearing at Columbia University in 2016, the first iteration of Picturing Black Girlhood (PBG) primarily featured Black girls in public spaces, thus providing new narratives of safety, dignity, and agency against a backdrop of police violence against unarmed Black people and everyday acts of discrimination.
Six years later, PBG turned more inward while increasing in scale. This international exhibition featured over seventy Black women, girls, and genderqueer artists – ranging in age from 8 to 87 – who work in the mediums of photography and film and are exploring the concept of Black girlhood, and considered Black girlhood as an essential stage of development, an integral moment of political awakening, an embattled site of representation, and a critical source of artistic inspiration in Black communities across the world.
Picturing Black Girlhood is again reflective of our times. In this current moment, longing for reconnection, and racial reckoning, these artists offer up intimacy, rest, renewal, deep connection to place, and exaltation as an answer and alternative freedom. Their images demand that we witness the full breadth of Black girls and gender-expansive youth, on their own terms, and those of the people they will soon become.