Inspired by 90s cartoons, Amara uses bright colours to explore more serious topics on femininity, beauty standards, and more
Amara is an Afro-St. Lucian and Indo-Grenadian (Black/Indian of Caribbean descent) Brooklyn-based creative, whose art focuses on and is inspired by bright colours and strong women, specifically women of colour. Let’s hear from Amara about the influences and impact of her work.
are the main influences behind Amara’s work?
Amara: “There are probably too many to count and I’m always adding more! But the core influences would most likely be various 80s and 90s anime and cartoons that I’ve been exposed to and female artists of colour like Frida Kahlo and Amrita Sher-Gil and how their work embraced and reflected themselves and others like them authentically, in contrast to the white bodies and male-gaze that would be found in the work of other well-known artists.
I’ve also recently noticed how much of an impact the 90s episodes of The Simpsons that I grew up on had on my work, especially the ‘Treehouse of Horror’ episodes! I love how they were able to blend such scary, surreal, and ‘serious’ storytelling that is usually told through darker colours with the bright colour palette of The Simpsons, also I’m totally obsessed with the use of pink throughout the series in a way that still feels warm, comforting, and embracing softness and femininity without feeling forced, with a ‘pink is for girls only’ mentality!! It’s definitely something that I’ve noticed subconsciously carried into my work, not being afraid to use bright colour while still attempting to convey more serious topics.”
“My art is a reminder to myself and others, that a woman is so much more than just the previous one-dimensional definition of femininity and eurocentric beauty that we have seen represented so much in western media, it’s messier, more complex, and so much more beautiful than that.”
does Amara portray strong women in her art?
Amara: “I feel like it's important to portray women in all their various forms, shapes, sizes, skin tones, etc. I’ve always been surrounded by Black and Brown women and girls who you might not always see in conventional media (however, I’m so glad to see that has been changing most recently!!) and there is so much I love about all of those women, especially their resilience and perseverance against everything that they have endured throughout history, sexism, racism, classism, etc. but honestly, the traditional representation of “womanhood” and “femininity” used to intimidate me. As a girl, I struggled with the idea of femininity because it seemed as if many of the aspects of my identity, and of many others, did not fit into the societal definition.
The representation of beauty of femininity in the media did not seem to have room for darker skin tones, different body types, body hair, etc. so much of my artistic process has been about embracing these aspects and challenging that prior idea of what of woman should be, and rather reflecting all the different definitions of what a woman is.
My art is a reminder to myself and others, that a woman is so much more than just the previous one-dimensional definition of femininity and eurocentric beauty that we have seen represented so much in western media, it’s messier, more complex, and so much more beautiful than that. It’s a reminder that as long as you choose to identify as a woman, your identity is valid and deserves to be represented, regardless of whether or not you have the formerly conventional appearance and personality of what a woman was once thought of to be.”
does Amara hope her work will impact others?
Amara: “Honestly, my art is very much therapeutic for me as a way to express my own thoughts and feelings rather than necessarily existing for others. It works as a reminder to myself that my voice matters and my art’s and my own existence is valid. However, I take great pride in when other people have a reaction to my work, the same way that one would feel when they know that they are really being listened to when they speak.
I make art inherently for me, that covers the subjects that interest me and reflect the Black and Brown women that I care about, so it is always extra rewarding when someone other than myself has an interest in it. I would hope that when people see my work they feel that they are just as valid as well, and that my art serves as a reminder to them as well, that there is space for them to exist overall.”
“I make art inherently for me, that covers the subjects that interest me and reflect the Black and Brown women that I care about, so it is always extra rewarding when someone other than myself has an interest in it.”