Ben Biayenda is a young Parisian art student whose vibrant and detailed illustrative work interrogates aspects of race, gender roles and Western beauty standards. Born in Namibia in 1998 to French and Congolese parents, his gorgeous imagery is a window into the intimate world of black feminine culture and effectively captures the mundane yet meaningful moments from which friendships and sisterhood arise.
His body of work centres around images of black women. Growing up in France, he was exposed to fine art from a young age but what really inspired the young artist to begin this artistic journey were aspects of black sisterhood and femininity that he observed from the women around him.
“I was really fascinated by painting and I was going to museums in Paris,” Biayenda told The Creators Project. “I really loved it, but there was some frustration to not see much black representation in famous paintings.”
“I always felt there is a lack of diversity and a lack of people who look like me, in art history, in magazines and media. Representation is really important.”
A quick glance at his website affirms his commitment to the cause. From magic marker dominated illustrations that reveal colourful and hidden intimacies, to mixed media projects that explore in depth traditional feminine imagery from both Europe and Africa, Biayenda’s body of work is an illustrated record of his version of women’s histories.
Revealing a vast scope of references, Biayenda’s drawings draw on everything from African tribal art to French Post-Impressionism and current pop culture. To see more of his work, follow him on Instagram or visit his website.
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Alia Youssef's The Sisters Project disrupts tired perceptions of Muslim women.