Debra Cartwright Uses Watercolor Paintings to Combat Black Women's Stereotypes

Harlem-based artist Debra Cartwright aims to combat stereotypes placed on Black women through her ethereal and whimsical watercolors which show Black women as delicate \and carefree.

"In my work, I show another side of black women," Cartwright told the Huffington Post. "There's enough heaviness around black women with stress, societal pressures, beauty standards. We're seen as 'angry' when we have opinions, our hair [is] 'unprofessional' or 'militant' when it's just how it grows out of our head. I seek to portray us as soft, feminine and carefree. The fluidity of watercolors really lends to that message. I continue loosening my technique with watercolor and it feels even more powerful. Other mediums are too tactile. I love the ethereal quality of that medium."
Cartwright who is influence by Wangechi Mutu says her ultimate goal is to combat the "strong black woman" trope. "Black women deal with so much in this country and around the world," she said. "Beauty standards, workplace discrimination, police brutality, fighting for basic woman rights. It's insane. These whimsical spaces I paint are a safe space, an escape from all the harshness injected on us daily. I hope that others take solace in my work and just exhale with me."

View her work below.

Photos: Debra Cartwright