Amy Sherald is an artist and native of Columbus, Georgia. Her works which feature modern, serene depictions of black women with a touch of surrealism, have been displayed in spaces all over the world including the Smithsonian Museum of African American Art in Washington, D.C. Sherald was also a recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting and Sculpture Grant. According to Sherald in her artist statement:
My work began as an exploration to exclude the idea of color as race from my paintings by removing “color” but still portraying racialised bodies as objects to be viewed through portraiture. These paintings originated as a creation of a fairytale, illustrating an alternate existence in response to a dominant narrative of black history. As my ideas became more legible the use of fantasy evolved into scenes of spectacle (e.g. circuses), to make direct reference to blackness and racialisation. I stage specific scenes of social ascent, and racial descent that chart the psychology and performance of identity with a particular attention to notions of social exclusion and assimilation. All of these things configure a practiced position or role played within a specific space or context. These kinds of performances blend and bleed the borders of how blackness is defined within the phenomenon of race as it relates to a specific experience of blackness in America, which has been performed in front of an audience that pretends not to exist. I am using historicism and race, not to be provocative, but to find some meaning within the ideas of self-actualization and the evolution of identity as a reaction to external directives.