This series of portraits is about gaze: who gets it, how they’re portrayed, and why. The cis white male gaze is the predominant lens through which our society is reflected back to us in the media. I’m very inspired by the way Kehinde Wiley flips the script of white gaze on black bodies. He talks about portraiture and the "field of power", referring to the way that painted portraits of people indicates that they are powerful, but also that portraits hold the potential to give power to those who are painted in this way, turning traditional portrait painting upside down. In a sense, by painting black men as if they are Napoleon atop a steed he is giving those black men power in a country that continues to strip them of their dignity and freedom. Amidst our current news cycle this becomes as important as ever. In my series I want to paint defiant women alongside black men and members of the LGBTQ+ community. We are all capable of such beauty. There is power in strength and there is power in vulnerability. As a black woman myself, I've seen that so often our expression is framed by race politics and criticized through gender politics. My assertion is that vulnerability is a human strength some of us don’t feel we have full access to for many reasons but is a power that can bridge the gap between different people.