Date of Award

Spring 2023

Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Allison Young


Contemporary environmental art can be inspired by personal experience and reflections between the artist and their surroundings. Black women have a unique interaction with and relation to their environment. I would like to unpack the relationships between Black women and the environment by exploring a few different artists’ work, and by dissecting the effects race and gender have on one’s view of the natural world. I have studied the work of four artists: Torkwase Dyson, Allison Jane Hamilton, LaToya Ruby Frazier, and Calida Garcia Rawles. Environmentally, I have a specific interest in bodies of water / Black waterways because of the element’s symbolic duality in the Black community. Water can be representative of purity, spirituality, or reflection, but it can also be representative of exclusion, violence, and forced migration. The Black body has always suffered from environmental injustice in the United States, and this shared experience has created cultural beliefs and practices within Black environments and landscapes. The Black community’s relationship with their natural and societal surroundings in the US are complex because of the systemic environmental injustices that limit the amount and security of Black spaces. The goal of my research has been to couple these four artists and their work with scholarly Black theory and information about the Black community’s view of the natural world. Spatial politics, cultural practices, and generational trauma all contribute to Black individuals’ interactions with the environment.