Amani Lewis - New Now London Thursday, April 28, 2022 | Phillips

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  • 'My work speaks to the inherent power, beauty and culture that make up Baltimore, that lies within the fibres and roots of the city, its people and their history.'
    —Amani Lewis
    Executed in vibrant layers of soft lilacs, electric blues, and deep mauve tones, Brittany, Always And Forever (John 11:25) is a tender portrait created in memory of the well-known transgender woman and sex worker Brittany Fleming by artist Amani Lewis. Familiar to Lewis and to the wider Baltimore community, the death of the vivacious and remarkable Fleming came as a shock to the artist, who has described the present work as an attempt to honour her memory, and to immortalise in paint the kind of transcendence that she possessed in life. In its celebration of a respected, although socially marginalised figure from the Baltimore community, Brittany, Always And Forever (John 11:25) is characteristic of Lewis’ painting and the resources the artist develops in their practice, which purposefully ‘work towards shifting the dominant narrative of Baltimore to hold the people and the complexity of our stories at the forefront.’i
     

    Beginning with a photographic image, Lewis builds up layers of expressive and colourful contour lines using digital and painterly techniques in a manner that shifts viewer’s perception from questions of external reality to a more nuanced appreciation of the subject’s inner life. As the artist explains, these portraits ‘have to do with following the lines and characteristics of my subject’s body that makes them the person who they are – while also mapping the lineage of that person to the likeness of a topographical map.’ii Belonging to the broader calls for changes in education, resources, housing, and secure employment made available for the transgender community in Baltimore that emerged as a response to Fleming’s death, Brittany, Always And Forever (John 11:25) is a powerful expression of vibrant individuality and life lived authentically.

    'I want to preserve, showcase, and archive my people.'
    —Amani Lewis
    Included in CFHILL’s 2020 group Black Voices / Black Microcosm alongside work by other prominent young artists such as Tunji Adeniyi-Jones and Amoako Boafo, Brittany, Always And Forever (John 11:25) took this message out of the immediate Baltimore community and placed it on an international stage. Blending a powerful social narrative with a sense of the vitality of its sitter, the present work presents at once a complex mapping of an individual, and a platform for the most marginalised voices of Baltimore’s Black and trans community.

     

    i Amani Lewis quoted in, Amani Lewis, online 
    ii Amani Lewis, quoted in, ‘Armani Lewis: More Blessed to Give’, Juxtapoz, Winter 2021, online

    • Provenance

      CFHILL, Stockholm
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      Stockholm, CFHILL, Black Voices / Black Microcosm, 8 April - 9 May 2020

4

Brittany, Always And Forever (John 11:25)

acrylic, digital collage and glitter on canvas
180 x 136.5 cm (70 7/8 x 53 3/4 in.)
Executed in 2020.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
£50,000 - 70,000 

Sold for £69,300

Contact Specialist

Charlotte Gibbs
Associate Specialist, Head of New Now
+44 20 7901 7993
[email protected]

New Now

London Auction 28 April 2022