Dr. Yemonja Smalls

Focusing on the intimacy of human relationship, emotion, and self-preservation, I create and communicate by joining the hands of color in various mediums. Through deconstructed and re-assembled cut materials, paint, and sometimes just ink, I investigate restoration with precision. The chemistry of colors combined are held together, even in fracture, everything remains whole.

Through use of paint, collage, papercuts and other media, I seek to build through focused deconstruction, and examine the process of holding even brokennessof spirit tenderly though reassembly. My preparation as an art therapy intern has been informed by experiences working with caregivers, staff, therapists, and the youth and older adults they support who have experienced trauma. Emphasis on self-care remains central to my practice and in the pieces I create.

I draw the core of a thing to the outside, asking the viewer to acknowledge how familiar it is to them although hidden. With a varied use of color to display the underside of the soul, I hope that the viewer will see themselves and be able to identify their own reflection in what is witnessed. The cyclical nature of growth, which often includes breaking, mending and refining, is reflected in the blending of color in my work. Attention to musculature in the human form, and circles which are held together with a metallic ribbon of gold or silver are frequent themes in all of the mediums with with I create and speaks to foundation and stability even in the midst of fracture.

My works have been exhibited in the Museum of Science and Industry, South Side Community Art Center, School of the Art Institute, Harlem Fine Arts Show, Gallery Guichard, Tall Grass Studios, Anode Gallery, Lacuna Gallery, and many of her works hang at The Connection in Chicago, the Sojourner Family Peace Center and in various private collections across the nation.


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