Stephen Hamilton (b.1987) is an artist and arts educator living and working in Boston, Massachusetts. Born and raised in Roxbury, Stephen graduated from Massachusetts College of Art and design in 2009 with a focus in illustration.
Stephen’s Work incorporates both Western and African techniques, blending figurative painting and drawing with resist dyeing, weaving, and woodcarving. Each image is a marriage between the aesthetic perspectives and artistry of both traditions. As a Black American trained in traditional west African artforms, he treats the acts of weaving, dyeing, and woodcarving as ritualized acts of reclamation. he uses traditional techniques and materials native to West Africa to reclaim ancestral knowledge dissociated from Africans in the Americas, during the transatlantic slave trade. The work explores and heavily references the Black body in pre-colonial African art history, creating visual connections between the past and the present. This forms a body of work, which serves as a conceptual and visual bridge between the ancient and modern worlds. Through this, he explores elements of black identity through time and space on its own terms.
Through visual comparison of shared philosophies and aesthetics amongst Black peoples, he seeks to describe a complex and varied Black aesthetic. These visual and philosophical connections and cultural analyses form his visual language. The pieces created depict African thought and culture as equal to, yet unique from, its western analog. This work stands in stark contrast to the pervasive negative associations, which have become synonymous with Black culture. his work, therefore, bridges dialogue between contemporary Black cultures and the ancient African world through an asset-based lens.