Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB): Single Black Femme (I Am My Own Institution)

Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB): Single Black Femme (I Am My Own Institution)

Royal Academy of Arts, London

Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB). Photo: Lily Bertrand-Webb.

July 2, 2024
Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB)
Single Black Femme (I Am My Own Institution)
July 5–August 25, 2024
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Royal Academy of Arts, London
Burlington House
London W1J 0BD
United Kingdom
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 10am–6pm,
Friday 10am–9pm

Current Starr Fellow Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB) presents her first international solo exhibition in the Weston Studio at the Royal Academy of Arts. 

In Single Black Femme (I Am My Own Institution), RMB creates new works in photography, assemblage, performance, and legal contracts. She highlights the entanglement between excellence, danger, desire, and mysticism in the pursuit of Black femme singularity.

RMB combines references to modernist painting, historic photography, and surrealist film with portrayals of self-made women who invoke obsession in others. Large-format analogue photographs of solo Black feminine figures are staged within text-based drawings and found materials of performative and commercial significance. The titles riff on an era of cinema where mentally unstable copycats threaten the white female protagonist while the Black protagonist exclusively finds redemption in friendship.

Legal contracts and absurdist institutional critique are major features of RMB’s work. For the 185th anniversary of Louis Daguerre’s invention of commercial photography, she created brass daguerreotype-inspired works from 2014 negatives she shot at Oprah Winfrey’s Chicago-based Harpo Studios before demolition. RMB also presents a contract with the Guinness World Record holder David Burder for largest daguerreotype alongside a performance-test addressed to the local art “community.”

On July 26, RMB will deliver a performance lecture, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Screams,” an homage to Maya Angelou, Josephine Baker, and the Black American voice of resistance. Reserve tickets here

RMB is an “undisciplinary” artist who changes narratives of power and access through aesthetics, satire, and ethics. A practitioner of Lukumí and Buddhism, her artworks often blur the lines between forms to contradict the hierarchies that they allow to persist. Having served as the first Director of Diversity at the Art Institute of Chicago, former proprietor of RMB Properties and Selah Vibe, Inc., a jury-awarded film director, assistant professor, and PhD Candidate at Northwestern University, her social interventions often foster radical acts beyond mere representation. She is this year’s Starr Fellow at the Royal Academy Schools, a year-long residency for a visual artist from the US. 

Event date: July 5–August 25, 2024. Live performance: July 26, 2024 6:30pm.

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Royal Academy of Arts, London
July 2, 2024

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