Naima Green (b. 1990) is a Brooklyn based artist and educator. Her artwork and research explores Blackness, perceived cultural identity, belonging, green cities and urban design. Green completed a fellowship in the Bronx Museum’s Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) Program (2016). She was an Artist-in-Residence at Vermont Studio Center (2015) and recipient of the Myers Art Prize at Columbia University (2013). Green earned her B.A. in Urban Studies from Barnard College, Columbia University and her M.A. in Art and Art Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently a M.F.A candidate at the International Center of Photography–Bard. Green was the lead photographer for Annie Novak’s book The Rooftop Growing Guide.
Her work has been featured in Arts.Black, The Atlantic, Barnard Magazine, BKLYNR, Fusion, Huffington Post, i-D, Interni Magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, New York Magazine, Open Skies Magazine, SPOOK, Refinery 29 and Vogue. Green says about her work:
“As a child, I watched as my parents tended to our flower and vegetable gardens. My home in Westchester, only 25 minutes outside New York City, was enveloped in lush greenery that made me feel at ease. I can still see the golden tomatoes, dwarf irises, and my dad’s famous collard greens; fragrant beds of thyme, verbena, and mint propagated right outside the back door. My backyard is not the typical narrative associated with blackness. I longed to see my experience reflected in the media, but never did. What I saw instead were black and brown bodies in rough, hard, and aggressive spaces. Contemporary American audiences are often comfortable seeing brown faces this way: in desolate, concrete spaces that can, and frequently do, suggest decay.”
Green’s photos essay ‘Jewels from the Hinterland’ corrects this misrepresentation.
“I seek [in ‘Jewels’] to complicate narratives of blackness by documenting our presences in lush, green spaces, rejecting singular representations of black people as dehumanized caricatures, sexual objects, and slaves. The images I compose offer visualizations of leisure, vulnerability, refuge, and my experience of home. As an artist and educator, I am convinced by the power of arts-based storytelling. I make work that is expansive, work that adds to our emerging historical narrative, work that investigates nuance, and work that listens and responds.”