Harmonia Rosales is making some radical changes in the world of art, and what she is creating is striking. The Afro-Cuban painter and sculptor has transformed the white bodies seen in traditional European Renaissance paintings into stunning works of art that unapologetically center Black bodies.
Her latest exhibition, “Harmonia Rosales: Master Narrative,” is currently on display at the Spelman College Museum of Fine Art in Atlanta.
“Storytelling is a journey of personal discovery and a reclamation of one’s cultural identity,” Rosales told CNN.
The exhibition includes 20 large-scale oil paintings and sculptural installations. Rosales delivers her message through the African diaspora and the Yorùbá religion to tell the universal story of creation. The Yorùbá religion originated in Western Africa thousands of years ago and regards a being known as Olódùmarè as the supreme Creator.
“I’m trying to educate the masses on a religion that has been hidden for quite some time,” Rosales said. “I want to make it very linear, understandable and digestible, so then we can dive deeper.”
She added: “I’m taking the express route of teaching people who they are. The only way to do that is by reimagining certain famous images.”
For example, in her painting titled “The Creation of God,” God is a Black woman.
“I wanted to visually depict women of color, specifically – because I’m a woman – as something of pure power,” Rosales said.
Celebrities like Oscar-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) have even bought her work.
“Harmonia Rosales: Master Narrative” is exhibited at the Spelman College Museum of Art in Atlanta through December 2, 2023.