2020 Grad Show

Simone Saunders

AUArts Grad Show Saunders



The SHE series is a celebration of Black womanhood. In this work, I highlight Black women who are exemplary leaders within their community: creating colourful works illuminating a culture. My research leads to Black women who are recognized for their advocacy and perseverance toward racial emancipation. As textiles, rug-tufted and punch needled works, I showcase women who have shaped and positively contributed to the Black diaspora. Women are linked to nature. Our bodies have a cyclical rhythm, tied to the moon. This kindred connection to the moon is shown in each creation. The content convey strength, equality and earthly connection. The harmony of graphic portraiture with dynamic colour stands up against the dangerous historical perception of Black women’s bodies. A white, colonial impression stemming from slavery that a Black body is lesser than: a disposable vessel, unnaturally shaped, immoral and primal connotations. I intend to lift up a Black history, to champion women, to enrich my community, all in service of the continued emancipation of a people.

Board of Governors Graduating Student Award Recipient - Fibre


SHE rises with the grace SHE was blessed with. Atop of the hill SHE surveys the landscape in which SHE’s landed. A Phoenix watches in wonderment. Be still, my sister. SHE steps onward through murky waters untouched by the razor-sharp thicket. Her muscles are taut to protect her softness. Her dark caramel skin absorbs the sun, welcoming its fury. SHE has the guidance of her ancestors behind her honey eyes. The Egyptian Nile and African sea run through her veins. SHE is unstoppable. SHE personifies trees. SHE runs with leopards. SHE sleeps with snakes. SHE whispers with Black widows. They are talismans of freedom and empires of strength. SHE blows by clouds of hatred and moves through the world with pride. SHE knows what SHE is capable of.