“Soul(s) of…” is a series of portraits highlighting the voices of Black women in gentrified communities.
Featuring: Makeba Rainey
United Photo Industries
“But what of Black women?…I most sincerely doubt if any other race of women could have brought its fineness up through so devilish a fire.” – W.E.B. Du Bois
“Soul(s) of…” is a project that archives people’s histories as the landscapes of their neighborhoods change so their stories and the culture they create may never be forgotten. The two components of this project include 16-20 digital collage portraits of Black women living in gentrified communities, and an interactive online archive of their stories. The archive will provide a glimpse of what was and create a community among folks who have similar experiences.
2018 is the 150th anniversary of W.E.B. Du Bois’ birth year. The title of the series pays homage to Du Bois, who often wrote about how extraordinary Black Americans are in the face of oppression.
Makeba Rainey’s creative practice focuses on building community and what that looks like. For her, community is an extension of family. By centering her work around social justice, specifically in regard to Black Americans, community becomes the key to liberation. Her artwork taps into aspects of the Black community, merging the old with the new by re-envisioning the ancestors through new media and creating space for young creatives to build and sustain themselves. Although a lot of her work is local to Harlem, she creates bonds with the larger Black community through her web-based artist collective, incorporating the themes of social justice movements like Black Lives Matter.
Originally from Harlem, New York, Makeba is a self-taught artist best known for her digital collage portraits of contemporary and historical Black icons. Makeba is an internationally exhibited artist, a 2017 Create Change Fellow with the Laundromat Project, a 2018 member of Vox Populi gallery in Philadelphia, a 2018 CFEVA Fellow, a 2018 Season III NARS resident Artist, and an Absolut Art artist.