We had the good fortune of connecting with Amina Daugherty and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amina, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
For a long time, I pushed my creativity aside. I did not consider being an artist a viable career, so I focused my energy on trying to follow a more “practical” pathway. In the Black community, there exists a generational disconnect where our elders often advise us against taking a “risk” in pursuing creative careers. I was blessed to have two parents who are creatives themselves, and with their encouragement, I decided to take a chance on myself to pursue a career in sculpting. The driving force of my career is to showcase the stories of the African American community in connection with the larger Black/Pan-African diaspora. I aim to create spaces in the art world where Black people feel comfortable, heard, and represented.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a sculptor! I received my formal education from Georgia State University, where I received my B.F.A. in Sculpture back in 2019. I describe most of my work as “anthropological” because I talk about how the lives of African American people have been shaped by slavery, racism, and our disconnect from our home continent of Africa due to constant misinformation and underrepresentation. I work to bridge some of the gaps in the stories of our identity and current culture by exploring our ancestral origins. Many of my pieces are dedicated to exploring the idea that we have behaviors and ideas that have carried over from our ancestors into modern life. I have recently begun to do more work speaking on the emotional turmoil we have been subjected to throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, including the trauma it has dredged up. Watching the murders of our brothers and sisters on an unending loop, and feeling helpless in our own homes has taken an incredible emotional toll, and I want to show viewers of my work how that really looks.
I also co-founded an organization called WE Collective with my sister in 2020 during the pandemic, and that has been an experience of its own. The core purpose of WE Collective is to build community between POC, but when I began creating content for WE Collective, I soon realized that:
A)It was not what I wanted it to be. I wanted to create a space where POC can speak and tell their own stories and it seemed like I was talking to my audience but I wasn’t letting them share their stories enough, and
B) We needed more money and time to do this right
I had to make the tough decision to shut WE Collective down temporarily and start fresh. I had to learn that it’s okay to restart and try again, and to learn from what you have done before. I am now working hard with my sister to make WE Collective what we wanted it to be initially, and to open the floor for more POC to share their stories and speak for their communities. We are very excited to relaunch in a few months with our new format and programming! Starting again was definitely worth it.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
The day would DEFINITELY start at Highland Bakery for breakfast. After that, I would take my friend gallery hopping- it’s one of my absolute favorite things to do with my friends. We would begin at the Atlanta Contemporary (their exhibitions are some of the most fascinating in the city!), and I would spontaneously bounce from exhibition to exhibition based on my fellow local artists’ recommendations. After that, we would stop by Sweet Hut for a quick snack- I love their firecracker shrimp and spring onion buns! Next, we would visit Fernbank Museum and take a walk around the exhibits, and perhaps take in a short movie at their IMAX theatre. Finally, we would hit up Tacos and Tequilas (even though I don’t drink HAHA), because they have the best shrimp tacos! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people I could thank for helping me along the way but I want to first dedicate this to my mom, dad, and sister. They have always encouraged me in all of my pursuits, even in moments where I felt I wasn’t good enough. Every time I have had to start over, every time I have lost, and every time have I won, they have been there to cheer me on.
Other: WE Collective Instagram: @wecllctv