Amani Lewis is an artist based in Baltimore, Maryland. In 2016, she graduated from the Maryland Institute College of Art with a BFA in General Fine Arts and Illustration.
“I work intuitively, interweaving the layers of my compositions to represent the reality from which they are derived. The narrative and the figures depicted are the only predetermined aspects of my process. By layering photos of life in Baltimore with expressive line drawings and varied image content, my work accentuates a ploy of distraction by obscuring the complexity of the full scenario. My intention is to create a composition that eludes comprehension at first glance. I aim to illuminate that there are distinct portions of this content that are willingly overlooked.
In painting, as in society, ignorance allows for the fabrication and consumption of a “pretty picture.” My process gives me a platform to critique the antiquated systems that allow corruption to permeate the daily reality of communities throughout Baltimore. By examining how Baltimore is depicted in the news, in the press, and across social media, I have deepened my understanding on how this city is perceived through an exterior lens. My work prompts the viewer to momentarily suspend this vantage-point; to look closer, past the distraction of vibrant colors and chaotic contours, to witness the substance and the realities that lie beneath the surface. To notice what is really happening. To realize that we exist in a state of constant manipulation, controlled by those with the privilege to perpetuate inauthentic perceptions. I am inviting my audience to step out of this cycle, to extend beyond the distractions that they have been fed, and to refocus to see the full story.”