Art Untitled

Title: Art on National Grid // Artist: Naijah Nine // Date: October, 2020

The inspiration behind my submission is based on both the song and my personal interpretation of what it means to be free. When I think about the struggle people of color have been through in this country, I look towards my very own family. I looked through the generations of women who have suffered through abuse, assault, classism, and sexism all under the umbrella of anti-blackness. My grandma at the age of 64 works over 40 hours a week, and has been doing that since the age of 16. She is use to the narrative of black people having to work twice as hard to get anything in America. She’s been taught from generations before her that she could never rest, as doing so would jeopardize everything she had fought for. She, like many people of color, are trapped in the corruption of capitalism.

When I listened to the song “I wish I knew how it would feel to be free” by Nina Simone, I thought about how my grandma would interpret being in a place of true peace. I think of her relaxing in her chair and finally being off her feet. I imagine her being surrounded by pets, as she is a huge animal lover. I imagine a woman who is very proud of her hard work but also is able to put her hardships to rest.

Often I think about the experiences people of color have faced trying to chase an ‘American Dream” that was not made for us to succeed. I think about how many of us come from families that only focused on working hard just to create a better life versus being able to enjoy a quality of life. I want to make this piece as an appreciation for that hard work as well as an encouragement for our older generations to seek true happiness. The sense of freedom that I look to express in this piece is the freedom to enjoy life.