This week we welcome Ashleigh Alexandria, aka “The Virgin Artiste,” who explores issues of gender and race through the painting of bodies. Her medium is partly performative in nature and evokes ritualistic techniques steeped in African and indigenous history as a method of articulating contemporary issues affecting Black and brown people.
Recording the site-specific works with photography and film, Alexandria often distills ideas of visibility, empowerment and objectification with herself as the subject, as seen in her 2019 “Selfie” series.
She also co-founded Souldega, a New York-based women’s art collective. Alexandria was born and raised in New York City and studied fine arts at Hampton University, a historically Black college in Hampton, Virginia.
The “Virgin Skin” series addresses the monotony of everyday life. The surrealistic body-painted designs of her subjects, along with the gritty backdrop of NYC, allows for there to be a discussion about visibility, empowerment and faith. She generally uses her intuition to lead her in creating various impactful storylines, mirroring personal experiences.
The subjects that she paints are involved in this process and are able to find confidence and expression in their “new skin.” This creates an organic response in the depiction of the image, which is important in order to highlight and humanize the people in her community.
See more of Alexandria’s work on her website.
We want to see, hear, feel, support your art and response to this moment. You can submit a poem, short story, artwork or any shareable experience below. If your work is selected, you will receive a $100 stipend and become part of our growing network of artists.