Personal Histories: Imani Sims on Mickalene Thomas

Personal Histories: Imani Sims on Mickalene Thomas


My name is Imani Sims and I am a curator for Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas. I am also an artist and, you know, resident weirdo. I am here in the Seattle Art Museum at the “Figuring History” exhibition in the Mickalene Thomas section of the gallery. Just, really exciting. I think this work for me– it’s all about texture–in general Mickalene Thomas has a great way of using texture, and, it’s the sparkle, I’m really into glittery things, and it’s very, like, high femme and I identify as a high femme and so this piece has so much vibrancy to it, and I really appreciate the permission to show up in full color, and I think that this work absolutely does that for the Black feminine form. This really, sort of, captures that spirit of a really relaxed joy; just being and living in your own skin. And so I love this piece for that reason (laughs). You should come and see “Figuring History” because it is literally life-sized Black beauty, in the way that there are so many different aspects of Blackness that show up in this exhibition and it’s huge! So often Black women are made small, and the idea of expanding into an exhibition that is so large and so inviting and welcoming is incredible and awe inspiring to see a reflection of myself so large in the world.

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