89DAMES explores the beauty of Black women from the so-called ‘glamorous’ era of the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn and Liz Taylor are considered prized cornerstones in the lexicon of ‘Classic Beauty’. While these women are duly praised in their own rights – it is obvious that during this same time, women like Dorothy Dandridge, Joyce Bryant and Diahann Carroll were unnecessarily overshadowed, ignored, and struggled to find international acclaim for their talents and gifts.
Stylo Starr’s observation of this led to her intimate commemoration of 89 Black women found on the covers of vintage JET Magazine issues. Each woman found their light and calling, however were seemingly condemned to a weekly magazine cover; to be collected, piled up, and stored away in the shadows of history. In 89DAMES, Stylo gives each woman their true potential, and space to shine in their own right.
“It’s important to me to reach back to these young ancestors,” explains Starr. “The adversity they faced as successful black women is mirrored heavily by today’s racial and beauty circumstances.”
Stylo places value in becoming familiar with the faces and energies of each woman through the careful, yet impulsive manipulation of photo transfer on paper collage. Each piece is unique unto itself, lending to the individuality clearly portrayed by each Dame.
Viewers will not only be confronted by the overwhelming beauty of Black women from an era of the past, but they will find themselves recognizing features of other women from their personal lives in the faces of each of the 89 dames.
“Giving life to 89DAMES was a practice in revolutionary self love. I am able to find my greatness through the greatness of each of these women. “
Use the hashtag #89DAMES when posting photos of the exhibit online to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!