CIARA PAIGE NEWTON
My older sister and myself were raised by our freckle-faced mother in Minneapolis, MN, where my family spent most of my childhood in low income housing. My mother was the first in the family to complete her graduate degree and instilled the importance of education in both of her children. Witnessing my only parent work against the academic system and succeed encouraged both my sister, and myself, to use education as a genuine and liberating form of power that will ultimately break the cycle of poverty, and addiction that has crippled our family history. I would say I have had a fairly "othered" experience in America. This is something I have become more aware of as I am asked to justify my “Brown” perspective at institutions of higher education. Challenging this measured idea of Brownness in academia has become fundamental for my personal growth as an artist and an intellectual searching for a culturally enlightened understanding of society, craft, and fine art.
Reconstruction-era politics have removed Black from cultural categories of beauty and value, a practice that enabled the Western art world to consume Black cultural products without canonizing them or enacting equitable policies for Black artists. My practice works to undo anti-Black injustice in place today. Through craft, art world identity politics, and performance I disrupt spaces of privilege in order to analyze our concepts of labor, worth, and beauty.