From the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art:
Deborah Roberts creates visually arresting collages that encourage important conversations about girlhood, vulnerability, body image, popular culture, self-image, and the dysfunctional legacy of colorism. Combining found photographs, painting, and drawing, she examines the weight that society places on Black girls. “Deborah Roberts: The Evolution of Mimi,” an original exhibition organized by the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art, features more than 50 collages, paintings, and hand-painted serigraphs.
On view January 25 – May 19, 2018, the exhibition includes collages, for which Roberts has gained notoriety, that demonstrate how she grapples with the depiction of beauty and the development of self-image in Black women. It also features her hand-painted serigraphs of names that stereotypically sound like those of Black girls, challenging viewers to think deeply about how their own perceptions are guided by societal expectations and preconceived notions. It also features a group of early paintings and works on paper that serve as a catalyst for her current work. Incorporating art history, popular culture, Black culture, and American history, Roberts creates bold provocative works that confront and captivate.
In 2011, Roberts started a series of collages entitled “The Miseducation of Mimi,” that was informed by a blend of the albums, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill” (1998) and “The Emancipation of Mimi” (2005) by Lauryn Hill and Mariah Carey, respectively. The ongoing series highlighted how both highly visible women, through their lyrics and music videos, presented themselves as simultaneously invincible and vulnerable.
“Deborah Roberts’ multilayered collages resist singular readings and present complicated notions of Blackness,” said Andrea Barnwell Brownlee, Ph.D., director of the Museum and the curator of the exhibition. “The Museum is proud to present this work, with its emphasis on fragmenting and reassembling, for the rst time in the Southeast. Roberts’ thought-provoking collages align perfectly with the Museum’s mission to inspire the Spelman College community and the general public through art by women of the African Diaspora and promises to intrigue and incite important conversations.”