77: A conversation with Qiana Mestrich on photography, racial identity in America, and building the communities you need to see in your world.

Friends, it was an honor to spend an hour in conversation with the talented and thoughtful, Qiana Mestrich. Qiana is a photography-focused, interdisciplinary artist whose work sheds light on personal histories of class, race, social inequality, (post-)colonialism, and international migration. Qiana shares about the inspiration for her work and how she incorporates her children into her studio practice. We talk about her most recently work titled Thrall, which integrates the outdoor studio, staged portraiture, still life and candid family photography. The images in Thrall externalize Qiana’s thinking around recent political, social and cultural discussions on white supremacy and Black consciousness

We talk about the various passion projects Qiana has pursued alongside her art career. In 2007 after recognizing how few Black photographers she was exposed to in art school, she founded Dodge & Burn: Decolonizing Photography History, an arts initiative that aims to diversify the medium’s history by advocating for photographers of color. Prompted by the lack of Qiana is also co-editor of the book How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood (Secretary Press),  which is a diverse collection of honest responses from contemporary artists who dare to engage in the creative endeavors of motherhood and making art. She shares about the beginnings of this book and the collaborative process of making it.

We also chat about the new virtual exhibition opportunity happening here at Artist/Mother, “You are not wonderful just because you are a mother”, an open call Qiana schemed up about the complexities and nuances of mother identity. We talk about the stereotypes, misconceptions and limiting conversations currently happening in our society surrounding motherhood and our hope for an exhibition to provide the opportunity for more diverse experiences to be expressed. Qiana will be jurying our show! Be sure to apply by November 23rd, 2020 and find all the information linked here.

Follow Qiana on IG @qianamestrich and be sure to follow @dodgeburnphoto. See more of Qiana’s work on her website.

The Artist/Mother podcast is created and hosted by Kaylan Buteyn. You can see more of Kaylan’s work on her website or connect with her on Instagram @kaylanbuteyn

Image from new body of work, “Thrall”, 2020
Image from new body of work, “Thrall”, 2020
Image from new body of work, “Thrall”, 2020
Image from new body of work, “Thrall”, 2020
Qiana Mestrich painting walls after solo show deinstall while pregnant with her 2nd child, Imogen. (2016)
Qiana Mestrich in her home studio framing work for the BRIC Biennial. (January 2020)
Close up of installation of my work at BRIC Biennial: Volume III, South Brooklyn Edition, curated by Elizabeth Ferrer (2020).
Installation shot of BRIC Biennial: Volume III, South Brooklyn Edition, curated by Elizabeth Ferrer (2020) – my work is seen on the wall to the right.
Installation of Hard To Place in Relative Material group show curated by Janna Dyk at Nurtureart Gallery, Brooklyn (2017)
Qiana and her husband Joseph with their daughter Imogen, installing work at a group show in Brooklyn. (2017)
1st edition front and back covers of How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood (Secretary Press, 2012) 
2nd edition cover of How We Do Both: Art and Motherhood (Secretary Press, 2015)

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