Ephemera Artist – Edith Juanah

“A Conversation With Myself”

Acrylic on canvas
36″ x 24″

“Enlighten Me”

Acrylic on canvas
24″ x 20″

“For Black Youth”

Acrylic on canvas
24″ x 20″

Edith Juanah


I identify as an African American queer female. My father is from Africa and my mother is American born, so I identify with both African and Black American culture, which have some vast differences. I identify most closely to the term queer, as I am a lesbian woman, but I resonate more with queer because I believe that both my sexuality and gender expression are fluid.

About the Piece: “A Conversation with Myself”

This piece is intended to represent my process of truly “seeing” myself. I stood in the mirror and asked my partner to take an image of me looking at myself, which in itself was a terribly intimidating process. For me, this image was inspired from my need to sit with myself in all that I am as an African American queer woman, whose existence in most social spaces is underrepresented or erased. My goal was to learn to see me as enough, in all of my “flaws”, my scars, and differences. I feel that this image relates to the theme of the exhibit because it displays an African American woman in her natural state, rather than as the media or society wants to see us.

About the Piece: “Enlighten Me”

My overall vision for this piece was to describe the freeing feeling that can come from releasing the expectations, ideas, and stigmas placed upon us by external influences. I chose the word golden and enlighten to describe the freedom that comes from me knowing myself and feeling confident in my identity and gender expression. I chose to create a tattooed lotus on the neck of the figure to represent the process of enlightenment through visuals used in ancient African symbolism. I believe this relates to the theme of the exhibition because I believe that the experience of freedom from societal expectations, ideas, and stigmas is beyond difficult and fleeting especially for black queer individuals.

About the Piece: “For Black Youth”

This piece discusses the intersectionality between the various marginalized communities I am a part of, such as the African American community and the middle to lower social class. As a queer African American woman , I exist within multiple marginalized communities and oftentimes it feels as though some identities become more prominent at certain times, depending on my social environment or even social issues. In this image , I describe the feelings of being an African American woman who has lived below the middle class most of her life; where much of the rest of the world has felt out of reach or not accessible to young Black women like myself. When speaking on intersectionality, I believe that as a queer woman of color, the various marginalized communities I exist in sometimes feels like I am constantly battling and advocating for certain parts of who I am, whether that be woman issues, queer issues, or African American issues. Although this piece represents some of the world that is out of reach/not accessible to minorities like myself, I chose to depict the music theme and the book to represent the rich cultural background and history within the African American community; all of which I am so incredibly proud to have come from, despite the hardships of existing within society’s “minority”.

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