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GREENWOOD Dist. — A Tulsa native is showcasing her artwork on an international stage. Platinum-selling singer and songwriter-turned visual artist Natalie Lauren will showcase her artwork at renowned auction house Christie’s in London from March 28 through April 14.
In honor of Women’s History Month, curator Mashonda Tifrere partnered with Christie’s Private Sells that highlights 15 women artists throughout the African diaspora.
Showcasing her original art piece, “Pink Dream,” Lauren is the first artist from Tulsa to exhibit work at Christie’s in London.
“Black artists have experienced exclusion and erasure in the art industry for a while. It’s a historical moment that we’re witnessing and participating in,” Lauren told The Black Wall Street Times on Thursday.
London artist exhibition challenges white patriarchy
Named “A Note to Self,” the exhibition featuring 15 women artists from across the diaspora was birthed out of a desire to challenge patriarchal history and champion the professional development of marginalized women.
Curator Mashonda Tifrere, an author, musical artist and activist, founded ArtLeadHer in 2016 to further the mission driving this latest exhibition. When she spotted Lauren’s artwork on social media, she reached out with an opportunity of a lifetime.
“I think the first thought is surreal and such a God thing. You know an opportunity that feels like a supernatural gift. I feel really excited,” Lauren told The Black Wall Street Times.
Inspired by her artistic cousin, what began as a hobby morphed into a medium of expression that Lauren describes as alternative medicine.
“It became the safest way to explore what was happening within,” she said.
In a video shared with The Black Wall Street Times, Lauren recounts how she shared her pieces with her sick father, whom she took care of, and while he’s no longer here, she says God made everything happen in its own time.
“You ain’t gotta compromise the season you’re supposed to be in,” she said.
Tulsa Artist Natalie Lauren Showcases Artwork at Christie’s in London
Artist Lauren said her showcase is about being guided by your spirit and what you feel rather than what you see.
“Pink Dream is where we go to wander, wide-eyed into the mud and mystery of life, searching for secrets or Psalms hiding in plain sight,” Lauren said. Her goal was to depict an internal refuge where the imagination is not endangered but generously invoked.
“A place where you hum all the songs you hear, leaving no words unsung. It is here, we are guided by the Spirit. It is here we reclaim time through the practice of non-doing; It is here we are free from the negotiation of self. For me, Pink Dream is where wonder gets the best of us. Being curious enough to consider another life.”
Inspiring the next generation
While she’s thrilled and grateful to represent Tulsa on an international stage, Lauren said the feeling is also bitter sweet as a marginalized artist.
“The sweet side is Mashonda Tifrere, a curator who really created space for 15 black women to exhibit our work in the largest auction house in the world. The bitter side or the tension is realizing that one of the reasons this moment is special is largely because it is rare,” she said.
When it comes to the impression she wants to leave on the little Black girls who want to follow in her footsteps, says it’s important to speak kindly to yourself about your dreams.
“Be brave and explore the wonderful and magical ideas that pop into your mind that feel Big. Don’t be afraid to fail or try hard. Try new things. Befriend other creatives. Remind yourself that you are enough, and God has created you with a special light inside. Share your light. Practice, practice, practice and love the process of learning,” she said.
The exhibit runs through April 14. Learn more about Natalie Lauren and her work on Instagram at @natalielaurensims.