“Yakemein.” All images © Akea Brionne, shared with permission

Woven into Akea Brionne’s glimmery Afro-surrealist tapestries is an impulse toward sustainability. With a degree in the subject and a practice rooted in research, the Detroit-based artist began considering how to minimize waste while developing photographs. Curbing consumption became a grounding principle that goes beyond material excess, extending to “ideas, conceptions, thoughts, and ways of being,” she tells Colossal.

Working on digital jacquard weavings, Brionne stitches rhinestones to garments, tiled floors, and other details, adding an element of decadence to each tapestry. Many of the portraits shown here were on view recently at Lyles & King in New York for Brionne’s solo show, Roses Grow in Southern Soil, and investigate “her grandfather’s journey between Mississippi and New Mexico in the 1970s at the tail end of The Great Migration.” She is interested in the lingering effects of colonialism and the African Diaspora, particularly as it relates to memory and how stories are passed from one generation to the next.

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