Clymenza Hawkins is known for photo collage images of Black women as faeries adorned with butterfly wings reflecting the metaphoric power of a butterfly emerging out of obstacles as survivors in wisdom, grace and pride. A native of New Britain, Connecticut, she always had an interest in art and literature which led to self taught in photomonage. Clymenza photographs real women, recreates their images through mixed media techniques. She was selected by the Romare Bearden Foundation and Full Spectrum Experience as one of the artists for the Bearden 100 Project, an online group exhibition for the Centennial Tribute to Romare Bearden . Grammy Award Winning vocalist Erykah Badu commissioned Clymenza’s concept portrayed as a Butterfly Womanfolk for her LIVE cd cover.
Clymenza’s work evolved into WomenFolk of the UnderGround Forest which continues to resonate the metamorphosis within the realms of a woman’s soul. Their profiles are set in mythical realms illuminating the feminine psyche’s spiritual paths into the unknown of “herselves”.
Cut paperworks and photomontages rewrite Black women as heroines of classical folklores. The restaging of this marginalized and unrepresented voice reflects the mythical and magical perspectives on reality. Her current work, Natural Enchantments depicts the WomenFolk in visual narratives based on the classical faerie folklore inspired by music, fashion and writers including Zora Neale Hurston, Angela Carter, Rita Dove, James Baldwin, Oscar Wilde, Toni Cade Bambara, Clarissa Pinkola Estes and Octavia Butler. She weaves the Black oral traditions and other world cultures and histories among mystical realms and enchanted Dreamtime. Black WomenFolk are portrayed as a new generation of modern heroines whose metamorphosis can be inspired by a swan, deer, horse, butterfly, mermaid, bird, spider or a Sister WomanFolk. They are powerful visionaries of their destinies refusing to be just another damsel in distress.
“I see our African American’s identities colliding against racial stereotyped imagery encouraged by reality t.v. shows, social media, movies and music videos. I recreate images from Black folklore into classic characters including Red Riding Hood, the Satyr, the Swan Maiden, Mr. Fox, the Mermaid, Mr. Wolf and Beauty as the muse to Mr. Beast. I present them in visual narratives in human and primal complexities with contemporary significance in the fantastical mainstream of faerie folklore.”