Amani Lewis

Vibrantly distorted and saturated characters that challenge narratives of power and identity.

Born 1994, Amani Lewis is an American painter based in Baltimore, Maryland.

Career

As part of an ongoing commitment to sharing their platform with others the artist co-founded C'LRD, a collective that focuses on amplifying the experiences of non-white artists.

Did you know?

Enacting the community-led themes of their practice, Lewis gives 20-50% of the proceeds from each work to its subject or subjects, most of whom are friends, collaborators and peers from Baltimore's artistic community.

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Collaborations with this artist

Practice overview

Amani Lewis creates intimate portraits of friends and family to champion social change. The artist aims to share overlooked stories of Baltimore’s Black community in order to provide counter-narratives to misrepresentative media rhetoric. Layered, saturated colour palettes are created with a range of materials including cloth, paper, paint, pastel and glitter. He also blends painting and photography using both digital and manual techniques, reflecting how technology has been woven into our everyday lives. Lewis continues the legacies of the Black Arts Movement and Harlem Renaissance, and is particularly influenced by Charles White, a key artistic figure of the early liberation movement in America. In parallel to White’s philosophy, Lewis’ practice not only reflects today’s social landscape, but intervenes within it.

Enacting his beliefs, Lewis - when a work is sold - gives a portion of the money to the sitter. In doing so, he elucidates the invisible labour within the painting, and also invisible work in society at large. Lewis also shares his platforms with others. For example, part of his 2019 solo show Subjective Nature was dedicated to the collective, CLR’D. The group, co-founded by Lewis and Murjoni Merriweather, includes a breadth of artists who deal with contemporary racial identity. Through these thoughtful, politicised gestures, the content and process of Lewis’ practice align. Elevating the ‘subjects’ of his paintings into agents for change, Lewis boldly embodies the social ethos of his work.

“I want to preserve, showcase, and archive my people.”Amani Lewis