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Tawny Chatmon


A photograph hanging on a white wall, in a gold ornate frame, of a young girl wearing a yellow dress

Tawny Chatmon is a self-taught artist working in the field of photography for over 16 years. She sees her photographs as a first layer of communication, further articulated by uniting them with other photographic and artistic elements, including paint, digital collage, illustration and gold leaf. This exhibition, organized in collaboration with Galerie Myrtis, aims to change the traditional African American child’s experience in a museum setting will include works from her series The Awakening, Byzantine Contempo, and The Redemption.

Chatmon has won several awards and recognitions, including Photographer of the Year, People Photographer of the Year, First Place Professional People/Family and First Place Specially/Digitally Enhanced at the International Photo Awards 2018, as well as a number of awards at Prix de la Photographie 2018 and Fine Art Photography Awards 2018. She has exhibited in galleries, fairs, and festivals around the world.

She currently resides in Texas with her husband and three children.

A woman wearing an ornate headdress and red dress holding a child
A photograph of a young girl with pigtails against a white wall, wearing an intricate yellow tank top
A photograph of a child looking up at an adult wearing a crown and long, flowing garments
A photo of an artist at work, painting a yellow dress on a female subject

Tawny Chatmon’s work is a celebration of the beauty of African American children and maternal and familial bonds. Chatmon derives purpose to create from her experience as the mother of three children.

“As the mother of three children, the primary theme that drives my current art practice is celebrating the beauty of African American children, maternal relationships and familial bonds. Presently I am drawn to creating portraits that are loosely inspired by works painted during the 15th-19th centuries with the specific intent of bringing to the forefront faces that were often under-celebrated in this style of work.”
–Tawny Chatmon

Behind The Lens with Tawny Chatmon

Go behind the lens with Tawny Chatmon who shares the inspiration and making of Inheritance, an exhibition encompassing three bodies of work: The Awakening, Byzantine Contempo, and The Redemption. In these series, Chatmon celebrates the beauty of black childhood, African American culture, and the delicate intricacies of protecting and raising a black child in today’s world. Each series is a conversation on love, nurturing, and the familial bond; a commentary on the politics of blackness; the historical portrayal of the black body; and an investigation of Renaissance and Byzantine portraiture. In combating the negative stereotyping associated with natural hairstyles and adornments that are distinctively likened to black people and culture, Chatmon glorifies these various styles: afros, locs, twists, and barbershop cuts revered in black communities. Embedded within the works are messages of embracing one’s beauty and cultural pride.

Fotographers (in) Focus

Tawny Chatmon invites us into the home where she and her family are social distancing and shares a glimpse of her current work as part of Fotografiska New York’s Fotographers (in) Focus, an ongoing project sharing what’s inspiring Fotografiska’s current exhibiting photographers during COVID-19 pandemic.