Accompanying Artist Statement
A crying girl ties knots in her coils and stares in her mirror. Her hair is kinked and matted, rubber bands stuck with static electricity. With a melaninated hand, she grabs a hold of her knot and rips it from her head. With a scream, she reaches—
A crying girl, sipping koolaid, leaning back with hoodoo smoke, watches the past, present, and future.
I am Black. Unapologetically African. Black power and black pride breathes from my work. I revel in kinky hair, curved stature, and melanin-tinted skin. Sitting right against the edge of climax, I have transformed myself into African-American history from the treacheries of slavery to the pride of Black Nationalism. I place myself in the history, strapping the chains and the Pan African flag to my back. Touching against violent sexuality in a paradoxical history, I force myself to hint at the submissive and dominant. My skin vibrates with pride, yet my posture glides against the eye with disruptive sensuality. With a glance, you revel in my beauty, yet are met with the uncomfortable fate of being in control of me. From this uncomfortable duality, I sit on the surface of black history and the tragic paradox of submissive pride.
Stepping into a crowd of hooded faces of illusionary pearl, she claps her hands against hypocrisy. Singing slave spirituals and drinking lemonade, she kisses the air with melanin. Her hair whips against the faces of her once dominators, screaming, “And here we are!”
Through photography and performative works, I become a documenter and a story-teller. Using myself as my subject, I step outside the realm of the watcher and allow the domination to overcome me. Only through the physical connection to the suffering can I recognize my identity. This identity, which is a journey of liminality and Blackness, follows the life of that crying girl. Through this journey, can I and my brothers and sisters, appreciate our origin and destination of royalty.
A crying girl, wiping away tears, sings lullabies to Africa, tying gold into her naps.
From her youth in Los Angeles, California to living in Houston, Texas, Elle Cox has followed the path of an artist. Elle's passion in writing and theater progressed to visual arts through her middle school exposure to art and her acceptance to the High school for Performing and Visual Arts, where her art career began to flourish. Elle has shown work in the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston, the Jung Center, the Community Artists’ Collective Gallery, YoungArts in Miami, the Kennedy Center in D.C., and has work owned by acclaimed Art collectors. She is a 2017 YoungArts Finalist and US Presidential Scholar in Visual Arts, and is currently studying Art and Psychology at Lafayette College.
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