Grace Lynne Haynes

Grace Lynne Haynes creates stylish, candy-hued portraits that celebrate the many incarnations of Black womanhood.

Haynes’ illustrative paintings and collages portray African-American women in their day-to-day lives. The portraits are full of pastel block colours and soft, enticing textures which are set against the opaque black forms of female figures.

Select Achievements
  • Solo show Grace Lynne at The Armory Show, New York, 2021
  • Solo show Shades of Summer at Band of Vices, Los Angeles, 2020
  • Solo show Grace Lynne at Luce Gallery, Turin, 2020
  • Group show with Luce Gallery at 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, London, 2020
  • Group show Black & White at Paul Robeson Galleries, Newark, 2019
GLynne Redeemed
Grace Lynne Haynes, Redeemed, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Band of Vices Gallery.

Haynes is influenced by modern and contemporary portraiture, from the photography of Carrie Mae Weems to the quintessential modernism of Henri Matisse, and the Dada-esque works of Wangechi Mutu. She also draws inspiration from nature and city life, as well as fashion magazines, Nina Simone, and traditional fabrics she has collected from Senegal and South Africa.

Grace Lynne Haynes

In 2020, her portrait of the iconic American activist Sojourner Truth adorned the front cover of The New Yorker magazine, highlighting the fact that women of colour had to wait another 45 years to gain the right to vote. By combining the personal and political, Haynes deconstructs colour as material and symbol alike. 

Grace Lynne Maximum Capacity
Grace Lynne Haynes, Maximum Capacity, 2020. Courtesy of the artist and Band of Vices Gallery.
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Grace Lynne Haynes, Anticipation, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Luce Gallery.

Haynes is driven by a desire for nuanced representation, keen to depict Black women as strong and powerful, but also feminine and serene. In Anticipation (2019), for example, a figure sits at a table, her stance is strong and assured. The woman wears a fluffy sherbet-coloured top, and two hummingbirds fly near a plant — a common motif throughout Haynes’ oeuvre representing her grandmother. In contrast to the clean lines of the figure, the eye is collaged from a magazine, adding a new texture to the work and returning the gaze of the viewer both literally and metaphorically. 

Courtesy of Vermont Studio Center
“I strive to show a safe haven for blackness, and a purity untainted by the world.”

Through intense use of colour, Haynes conveys her essential message: Black is beautiful. As the artist explains, in Western society “light typically represents the inherently good and pure, while the dark is sinister and evil.” In Haynes’ work however, she reverses this narrative, presenting dark feminine figures as chic and calm, with the light colours around them only serving to heighten their beauty.  Excavating the intersections of culture, race and femininity, Haynes’ empowering work eloquently challenges stereotypes and questions the very nature of colour itself.


“My own journey as a black woman is centred around embracing my softness and vulnerability, and not feeling like superwoman all of the time.”
Grace Lynne Haynes, Confined, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Luce Gallery.
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Grace Lynne Haynes
Grace Lynne Haynes
Grace Lynne Haynes
Grace Lynne Haynes
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