Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Sun

Synthetic hair woven with wire, gold leaf and pony beads, neon and wool. Nafis White creates her work from objects commonly found in beauty supply stores, industrial and irrigation components and the seemingly limitless horizons of our global and political landscapes. Through sculpture, installation, photography and weaving she centers the uncanny audacity of self-affirmation and love by means of repetition as a form of change.

White draws inspiration from the rich Diaspora of experiences and traditions of Black beauty and self care built upon centuries old histories of embodied knowledge that honors, celebrates, and values the innovation, technology and imagination carried through and passed on by the fingertips of Black people. Through play and continuous exploration, White employs her research on the intricate customs of Victorian Hair Weaving and appropriates them using Black hair, beauty products, and hairstyling techniques where they were never imagined to take up space and esteem. White exaggerates pattern and scale with keen emphasis beholden on colors and textures to draw viewers to the creativity, resilience and power of a people whose very existence and aesthetics have been the subject of ridicule, persecution and systemic erasure since their harrowing and iniquitous arrival upon these shores.

Nafis White

Nafis M. White received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in Sculpture and Art History in 2015. She recently studied in London at Goldsmiths University in 2016 and then returned to the U.S. as a MFA candidate at the Rhode Island School of Design in Printmaking where she will graduate in 2018. Nafis works in sculpture, photography, video, and performance exploring themes of identity, equality, and the political landscape using personal narratives to visualize and build work, using a multidisciplinary approach to her art making. Nafis has work in both private and public collections and has recently exhibited at the RISD Museum (Providence, RI), New Museum with BWA4BLM (NY), UNM Art Museum (Albuquerque, NM), Goldsmiths University of London (London, UK), Smack Mellon (NY), Overture Center for the Arts (Madison, WI), Autogragh ABP (London, UK) among others.

Ready to Visit?

Arts + Literature Laboratory is located in Madison’s Schenk-Atwood neighborhood at 2021 Winnebago Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53704.

Gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 11am-3pm during exhibitions or by appointment. Please check the exhibitions calendar before planning your visit, as the gallery is closed between exhibitions and other schedule changes are posted here.


Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Stay up to date on upcoming programs and opportunities through our monthly newsletter.