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The multicolored portrait stands out against a background that contains several unfinished faces. Rather, eyes, noses, and lips are spread across the canvas and blend with the background. Instead of generic model figures, Sagna purposefully focuses on strong, self-determined women who tirelessly resist Western beauty standards. Sagna is not concerned with realistic representation, quite the opposite - Sagna strives to bring the free essences of the women she paints into a fragmented body of work with many multi-faceted layers, bold colors, and complementary typography. 2021
Joséphine Sagna is a German-Senegalese artist and designer, born in Stuttgart, Germany, who is now based in Hamburg Germany. She incorporates her multi-ethnic identity deep within her artistic creations, centring her work especially around the multi-cultural, Black and female experience in a predominantly white society. Sagna’s art discusses and broaches issues of prejudices, everyday racism, reactions, different points of view, whether from the own eye or the eyes of others, intimacy and self-representation, yet also where Sagna sees herself amidst it all. Her pieces boast of vibrant colours and a vivid expressive style. Even though her painterly approach is rooted in a figurative tradition, she breaks free from any restricting ideas, allowing the abstract to rush into her creative process. Sagna studied art and fashion design at the HAW Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and gained her Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design from the Design Department in 2019. For the artist, spontaneity is essential to her creative process, in which she involves various painting techniques and tools: oil, acrylic and spray paint, markers, coloured pencils and chalk. The freedom to express herself freely is what draws her to painting. With her work she does not intent to accuse or point a finger at anyone, but instead cares to draw attention to often overlooked problems. She chooses to stay on a positive note in her manner of creating awareness for the issues of people with Black and Brown skin and tries to push forward with a message of empowerment. Her inspiration for motifs often comes from social media, from women who show themselves unapologetically. Women, who are not afraid to present who they are, even though they might not fit into their society’s beauty standards. But literature and music serve as inspirational vehicles to Sagna as well, especially on an emotional level. Her works are held in collections, among others in Germany, the USA, South Africa, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark and France. Since 2016 numerous exhibitions in museums, galleries and festivals in Hamburg, Stuttgart, Lübeck (Germany) and abroad, among others in Biarritz (France), Maastricht (Netherlands) and Luzern (Switzerland). Julia Ashinedu Uti, art historian M.A. Joséphine Sagna is currently part of the Kunstimpulse exhibition on Mönckebergstraße.
Josephine Sagna's works sparkle with energy, color and emotionality. They virtually draw the viewer into the picture. I like her positive, optimistic expression, for all the seriousness of the topics she portrays: Identity, empowerment, but also racism and stereotypes. A great Hamburg based artist!
Vice Mayor of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg about Josephine Sagna
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