January 31 – February 29, 2024
Join us for a conversation with the artist, February 15th, from 7-8:30pm on Zoom. Sign up here.
Tokie Rome-Taylor: Reclamation
Challenging the norms of portraiture, Tokie Rome-Taylor’s work centers themes of ethnography, identity, and representation, as well as their intersections with photography’s influence on perception and public history. In these works, Rome-Taylor photographs children of color as her subjects, calling attention to previous hegemonic histories of the Western gaze. Against opulent backgrounds and adorned in regal attire, her subjects radiate an unwavering majesty, confronting biases and addressing racial gaps in traditional art-historical representation. Rome-Taylor’s work explores the perception of self and belonging, and how these begin in childhood.
Rome-Taylor’s work requires thorough ethnographic and historical research, specifically on the material culture and spiritual practice of enslaved individuals in the 19th century. A distinctive aspect is the depiction of children posing with their family heirlooms. These heirlooms bridge the present to the past, connecting viewers to ancestral stories and traditions. Rome-Taylor’s art becomes a multilayered narrative, not just about individual subjects but a broader exploration of cultural and historical contexts. Through meticulous research and thoughtful composition, she crafts visual stories that transcend time, inviting viewers to reflect on the intricate tapestry of identity and heritage.
As you navigate through these images, ask yourself: how often do you see children of color in historical portraiture? And why -or why not- might that be?
About Tokie Rome-Taylor
Interdisciplinary artist Tokie Rome-Taylor explores themes of time, spirituality, visibility and identity through the foundational medium of photography.
Portraiture, set design, and objects all are a part of Tokie’s photographic practice. Through both digital and alternative processes of image making, textiles, and assemblage, she explores the layered complex relationship African Americans in the diaspora have with the western world.
Rome-Taylor’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally with an exhibition record that includes the, The New Gallery at Austin Peay University, The Hammonds House Museum, The Atlanta Contemporary, the Fralin Museum, The Southeastern Museum of Photography, The Griffin Museum of Photography, SP-Foto SP-Arte Fair in São Paulo, Brazil, and the Zuckerman Museum of Art, amongst others. Her work is held in multiple public and private collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia, The Fralin Museum at University of Virginia, and the Southeastern Museum of Photography.
Rome-Taylor is a 20+ year veteran educator and working artist.