Aaliyah Arnold (Dillard University)

My name is Aaliyah Arnold, I am 21 years old. I was born in New Iberia, Louisiana and raised in Jeanerette, Louisiana. I work in two mediums, photography and printmaking. With my photos I capture portrait shots of people in my community, including relatives and friends, as well as landscape shots of the area. I work with digital cameras using standard portrait and landscape lenses, as well as Polaroid cameras. 

I make my artwork to provide a narrative of the experiences of life, knowledge and beauty through the stories of elders in the community, as well as a view into the lives of the younger and middle age generations. My goal is to create a connection between the viewer and the subject. I seek to tell the story of the subjects through these photos. My artwork can be akin to the style of Carrie Mae Weems’ Kitchen Table Series, that depicts familiar connections as well as sharing similar inspirations and other connections to my artwork are Latoya Ruby Frazier and Stephanie Syjuco. 

I hope to take ordinary people and bring their faces, stories and experiences to the forefront instead of being overlooked by artists and critics in the creative world. I believe there is interesting history and culture within the small towns and most certainly the people who live there, such as food, traditions and vernacular. Within these pictures I show a glimpse into their daily routines, joys and heartbreaks of their lives. This series shares not only who my subjects are personally but also the city of Jeanerette and its history. 

My favorite part of capturing photos is to tell stories; it sparks conversations, it raises questions and makes people more curious about the people, places and history that I hope to bring more attention to. My art has always been an extension of myself, it is the outlet I use to show others what I see to be interesting, important and beautiful. It is a means to also share information about these same inspirations that I want to highlight. It’s not possible to tell my story without telling the story of those around me.