Caribbean Roots Artist Collaborates With Rihanna To Interpret Beauty

Caribbean roots artist Lorna Simpson.
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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. Jan. 15, 2021: A Caribbean roots artist has teamed up with the Caribbean’s biggest superstar to interpret modern-day beauty

Brooklyn-born Lorna Simpson, whose father is Jamaican-Cuban, collaborated with Rihanna for ESSENCE’s January/February 2021 issue.

The magazine commissioned the esteemed Lorna Simpson to interpret modern-day beauty in collaboration with Rihanna and the result is a series of original photographic collages for the cover and 12-page portfolio entitled, “Of Earth & Sky.”

Rihanna by Lorna Simpson for Essence magazine 2020. (ESSENCE image)

Simpson grew up in Crown Heights in Brooklyn, New York and attended the High School of Art and Design.  She later attended the School of Visual Arts in New York City where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting in 1982 and her Master of Fine Arts degree in visual arts, from the University of California at San Diego in 1985.

Simpson’s work has been displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Miami Art Museum, the Walker Art Center, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art,[20] the Whitney and the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Whitney Museum of American Art and the Venice Biennale, where she was the first African American to participate.

The 12-page portfolio inside the magazine features the Barbados-born singer, actress and businesswoman dressed in designer clothing from the likes of Prada, Rick Owens, Hood by Air, and her own Savage X Fenty.

n one image, a cutout of the singer with her eyes downcast over a bare shoulder is amplified by a cloudburst of blue gouache overlaid above her head. The image recalls Simpson’s Tulip (2014) and Blue Note (2017) collages, which combine black and white ephemera with hand-drawn watercolor.

“I needed to create images of Rihanna to place within the environments of source materials from my archive,” Simpson said in a statement from Essence. “Knowing Rihanna’s charisma and commanding presence, my effort was then to be as present and prepared as possible to capture her exquisite performance for the camera.”