Grace Lynne Haynes

Stylish, candy-hued portraits that celebrate the many incarnations of Black womanhood.

Grace Lynne Haynes was born in California in 1986, and now lives and works in New Jersey, USA.

Publications

Her artworks graced the covers of iconic publication The New Yorker on two occasions in 2020, one of which marked the hundredth anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Did you know?

Haynes finds inspiration people watching in New York City, as well as from the designs of fashion designers like Pier Paolo Piccoli - who made history in 2020 by featuring more than 30 models of colour in Valentino's haute couture show.

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Collaborations with this artist

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Practice overview

Illustrative paintings and collages by Grace Lynne Haynes portray fashionable African-American women in their day-to-day lives. The portraits are full of sherbet hues and soft, enticing textures which are set against the opaque black forms of female figures. Haynes is influenced by modern and contemporary portraiture, from the photography of Carrie Mae Weems to the quintessential modernism of Henri Matisse. She also draws inspiration from fashion magazines, singer Nina Simone and traditional fabrics collected from Senegal and South Africa. Subtle references in the work contain personal meaning. Hummingbirds, for example, appear throughout the paintings to represent the artist’s grandmother.

By combining the personal and political, Haynes deconstructs colour as material and symbol alike. As the artist explains, in Western society “light typically represents the inherently good and pure, while the dark is sinister and evil.” However, Haynes reverses this narrative, presenting dark feminine figures as chic and calm, with surrounding pastel tones only serving to heighten their beauty. This creates nuanced representation which shows Black womanhood as strong and powerful, but also as feminine and serene. Excavating the intersections of culture, race and femininity, Haynes’ empowering work eloquently challenges stereotypes and questions the very nature of colour itself.

“I strive to show a safe haven for Blackness, and a purity untainted by the world.”Grace Lynne Haynes