About the Speakers
Julia Bottoms is a Buffalo-based artist who creates realistic and recognizable representations, using portraiture to give a glimpse of people of color as sensitive, sincere, and multi-faceted—characteristics that the artist feels are often missing in mainstream portrayals. Bottoms has previously focused on depictions of men in part because she feels there is a “certain level of expressive privilege often denied to men by our culture.” This situation allows her the freedom to explore and deviate from notions of accepted, but deeply flawed, racial stereotypes and distorted gender roles. Recently her work has slightly expanded to encompass aspects of character in general. Bottoms feels that in a culture that so often markets reductive representations of the beauty, grace, and intellect of people of color, it is necessary to produce and promote nuanced and constructive images that actively break that cycle. Bottoms proudly asserts, “People of color have been trapped in someone else’s narrative for too long, and when we have tried to write our own, we have often been erased from the mainstream’s history books. I believe it is time for us to use the talents we possess to speak our truth. Our lives are worthy of dialogue.” Bottoms has exhibited regionally, including the Buffalo Arts Studio exhibition Tinted: A Visual Statement on Color, Identity, and Representation (April 28–June 2, 2017). Bottoms is the inaugural artist for the Open Buffalo Emerging Artist Series. She is also a contributing writer for AFROPUNK.
Keah Brown is a journalist, freelance writer, and the creator of #DisabledAndCute. She is an advocate for people with disabilities from Lockport, New York. Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Essence.com, Catapult, Glamour Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and Lenny Letter, among other publications. Her debut essay collection THE PRETTY ONE is forthcoming from Atria Books.
Chanel Thervil is a Haitian American artist and educator obsessed with all things art, community, and history. She has a BFA in Painting from Pace University and MA in Art Education from MassArt. Creating art has always her way of navigating through her feelings and experiences with social and cultural liminality. Visually she represents this by creating a controlled chaos via the playful juxtaposition of various textures, colors, abstractions and representational forms. The collection and creation of a wide range of materials for her end products complement the tension and harmony that comes from the desire to have a voice as an individual while also seeking context in a common narrative. Recently, she's been making a splash in Boston via her public art, portraiture, and collaborations with institutions like the Center for Art & Community Partnerships, the Institute of Contemporary Art, and Boston Center for the Arts. In addition to her community-based work as an educator, she currently serves as the Program Manager at The Art Connection. To find out more about her work visit her website at www.chanelthervil.com.