Artist-scholar Rashayla Marie Brown (RMB) manages a living studio practice across an extensive list of cultural production modes, including photography, performance, writing, drawing, installation, and video art. Encompassing themes of autonomy and self-mastery at the intersections of art history, religion, and popular culture, RMB’s work often investigates power dynamics through the emotion and personal vulnerability of lived experience. A lifelong nomad who has moved 24 times, her journey as a professional artist began as a radio DJ and poet performing research in London, England and as founder of the family-owned design company, Selah Vibe, Inc., in Atlanta, GA. RMB currently serves as the inaugural Director of Student Affairs for Diversity and Inclusion at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), fostering queer Afrofeminist narratives across institutions.
RMB holds degrees from Yale University and SAIC, advised by Paul Gilroy and Barbara DeGenevieve respectively. Her work has been commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and Yale University, New Haven, CT. Her work has shown at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL; Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago, IL; INVISIBLE-EXPORTS, New York, NY; University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Museum of the African Diaspora, San Francisco, CA; Centro Cultural Costaricense Norteamericano, San Jose, Costa Rica; and other venues. She has received numerous awards, including the City of Chicago’s Artist Residency, the Hyde Park Art Center Flex Residency, the Roger Brown Residency, and the Yale Mellon Research Grant. Her work and words have been featured and published in Art Forum, Blouin Modern Painters, Chicago Magazine, Hyperallergic, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, the Radical Presence catalog, and the cover of the Chicago Reader. RMB’s essay “Open Letter to My Fellow Young Artists and Scholars on the Margins: A Tribute to Terry Adkins” was shared over 9K times online as of 2017.
Rashayla Marie Brown is the recipient of the 2017 Chicago Artadia Award.