Today is International Women’s Day, and we couldn’t think of a more ideal time to share the story of artist Aimée Everett. Read about how she uses art to break silence and own her voice.
There’s a lot to look at when you first walk into Aimée Everett’s living room. Multiple easels occupy the space in front of her patio door to make the most out of the natural light. Her paintings fill her walls and all warrant a second, third, and fourth look.
As an abstract artist, Aimée uses simple elements to create visual diaries that transform her thoughts, inspirations, and experiences into lines and color. Recently, Aimée’s been exploring the idea of silence and breaking it with her work. Her explorations and her art inspired this month’s theme, “breaking silence.”
“The idea started because I felt like a vault. A walking vault,” explains Aimée. “There were things that I wanted to say that I couldn't say.”
For Aimée, abstract art presents an outlet to express everything that is taboo about the identities she claims and the spaces she occupies. She pulls inspiration from a wide variety of sources, from day-to-day life to literature, and explores themes that resonate with her experience as a first generation Afro-Latina woman from New Orleans. The Lion in Love, an Aesop fable, for example inspired one of her paintings. In the fable, a Lion falls in love with a human woman. Her parents refuses to accept the lion unless he agreed to change different parts of himself -- get rid of his claws shave his fur -- to gain their approval. After he made all of these changes, the woman’s parents take advantage of how defenseless the Lion has become and kills him. Aimée draws parallels between her experiences and that of the Lion.
“I have to straighten my hair. I have to work on my speech. I can't use slang. I can't have big earrings,” Aimée lists. “Even when I take all those things and I show up as a European would, I'm still not good enough.”
Within Aimée’s canvases, she explores vulnerabilities and frustrations previously left unsaid. A refreshing aspect of Aimee’s abstract work is her ability to represent complex concepts through disguised symbolism and the creation of her own language.
“I don't know what my mother tongue is. I'm half Hispanic, half black. I don't know Spanish. That part of me wasn't given to me by my father, and I don't know what African tribe I came from,” reveals Aimée.
Though art is Aimée’s language of choice, she doesn’t want others to feel limited in their ability to oppose silence.
“Even if you're not an artist, you can still break silence,” Aimee advises. “You can still encourage others to break their silence by teaching other people that they don't have to endure the silence you did.”
According to Aimée, one of the most exciting things about the direction of her art is the connections it inspires in others. By expressing raw emotions subtly, her work leaves room for viewers to come to their own interpretation and create their own meaning.
“I'm being welcomed with open arms with what I'm creating,” share Aimee. “I don't want to create anything else.”
You can view some of Aimee’s work in person at The People’s Gallery. Follow her on Instagram to stay up to date with her work.