On Black Art, Being Self-Taught and Embracing Inconsistency: "Meet Her Hands" with Multimedia Arist Neta Bomani

This summer, we produced our second Meet Her Hands production with the Elisabet Ney museum. This series features three self-identifying women, Texas-based artists in discussion about their work, their inspiration and their hands (hence their process). 

The Vibe

Elisabet Ney Museum

On August 10, we gathered on the banks of the Elisabet Ney Museum, the former home of sculptor, Elisabet Ney, for an interview between Candace Roane and the third artist in Meet Her Hands 2017, Neta Bomani. As the sun set, attendees enjoyed an intimate exhibition of the artist's work, a Q&A with the artist herself and cider provided by Argus Cidery.

The Interview

Attendees gathered for a Q&A between Neta Bomani and Bomani's friend, collaborator Candace Roane. Below are a few highlight quotes from the conversation:

On not monetizing her work:
I've been thinking about doing art that's more anti-capitalist and more pan-African... I don't make art for profit... I don't believe for making art for money. I make art for myself and other black people
On being a self-taught multimedia artist:
Photography taught me to balance creativity with technical skills. I try to approach my artwork with prior knowledge.

I've been experimenting recently with collage work, which is something from childhood and is very youthful and also influences my experience with zine-making.

I just exist with this natural aptitude and inclination to do things with my hands. If there was someone who influenced me, it would be my father, who is an artist as well, though he probably wouldn't call himself one.

I consider myself to be self-taught. I was making art before any formal training. I did go to university for design, which provided a language for what I was doing...just to be honest I was doing my best work when I was outside of school because there were no outside forces. Even when I was making a lot of mistakes and errors, those still influenced the stylings of my art today.
On her process:
I do a lot of note-taking—that's something I never stop doing. I'll write down thoughts and ideas, and when I find myself in that momentum, that's when I'll start to create. I also spend a lot of time with family: I'm very private and family centered, and that's something that drives me as well.

My process varies. I am a very inconsistent artist... but art is a very self-reflective process. I try not to give into pressure and just make art when it moves me. I'll have a conversation with someone and realize I want to explore that idea, so I'll write it down and consult my notebooks when I feel the itch to create. That's where I live—I live in my notebooks."
On her inspirations:
I saw a quote on Twitter, and it addressed within the tension of society, what does it mean to be a problem? And that really resonated with me... I try to address that with my art. I try to address those unanswered questions and I hope that other people find that, too.

I definitely make sense of the world through my art. I process the world through my art... we live in a white supremacist, male-dominated society, and I'm a Black woman.
On overcoming doubts:
I was doubting myself two hours ago. Everyone doubts themselves. Even when I'm making art, I will doubt myself, but I have to just get through it and come out on the other side.

The Exhibition

featuring select works by Neta Bomani

Bomani's pieces will be on display at the Elisabet Ney Museum through Sept. 6, thus concluding our 2017 Meet Her Hands season! Til next summer, y'all.

Jane Claire HerveyComment