Sanah Brown-Bowers is a self-taught artist whose work focuses primarily on portraits of the Black American experience. Sanah centers her nuclear family to tell stories of Black joy and nostalgic experiences from the 80’s that bind together pop art, fantasy and her whimsical mind. Her intricately detailed acrylic and oil paintings are often displayed within family altars she builds which function as shadowboxes and include found artifacts related to her subjects. Her paintings honor living relatives and legacies that have been lost through the stripping away of identity due to enslavement. Sanah Brown-Bowers uses symbolism to restore hope to a race of people whose history has been forgotten and needs restoration and affirmation.
Sanah’s work has received several awards and honors such as 1st place for the McKinney Black History Art Competition in February 2022. A Scholarship from the Priscilla Art Club of Dallas and Best of Show at the Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum in Fort Worth, TX, to name a few. In 2020, Sanah was selected for a solo show at the Bert Long Jr. Gallery at the Houston Museum of African American Culture. Sanah also has a mural company that she operates with her husband Reginal Bowers, they recently completed a Ray Charles mural for the Blues Alley project in Deep Ellum, Texas honoring musicians.
A proud native of Queens, New York, Sanah Brown-Bowers has been residing in Fort Worth,Texas for the past 20 years where she recently received her BA in Fine Arts from the University of North Texas. She is currently working on her MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.
I’ve always been interested in portrait photography and realistic artwork. This obsession began when I escaped regularly after High School to the Barnes and Nobles photography section to view some of my favorite photographers such as Gordon Parks, Amy Leibowitz and Cindy Sherman, so merging photography and painting with my artwork was inevitable. I began creating portraits over 15 years ago, colors, patterns and fabric designs would take me into unchartered territories and oftentimes, became the foundation and backdrop to a portrait idea I still carry with me to this day.
My first subject has been my family and painting their portraits realistically. My daughter's childhood to adulthood is often the muse behind my inspiration but recently I have combined other stories of all my close family members. Overall, my artwork is about a family, a family that is a part of a larger family and culture, dating back thousands of years. I believe everyone's story is important no matter class or status. My purpose is to let the viewer take a sneak peek through my artwork into my intimate family experiences that are mostly joyful and everyday events. My artwork plays on nostalgic memories that often merge realism with the fantastical. These memories take residence in my artwork as cartoons, movies and graphic text that are often relatable universally.
Over the past years, my artistic practice has morphed into multidisciplinary mediums. Acrylic, oil and spray paints, mixed media, paper collage, typography, assemblage art, LED lighting, film, video and sound all make up my family altars. These pieces are created to be sanctuaries, places of reflection where the viewer gets to look, read and explore what is being displayed in the piece. My pieces are about recalling other sanctuaries where ancestors are remembered and honored; my altars provide the viewer space to reflect on the work. The altars are intended to connect viewers with their own childhoods, text is often used in the form of poetry, prayers or handwritten quotes, sometimes subtle, sometimes bold. The significance behind the family altar is my idea that everyone's story is important and living stories need to be heard as well .
While I have focused on my family, my work is a conversation with Black history. I believe that my artwork is a portal, a portal to encounter the artist and also for me to impart something to the viewer. My hope is to affirm and uplift one's soul after encountering my work. I do this by infusing my artwork with vibrant colors which invoke the senses through text, song, smell, sight and vibration. Often times when African Americans are depicted in artwork, it’s political or more often reflects memories of slavery. I believe that we as Black people have another narrative to showcase, like Black men smiling, empowered and uplifted, families having fun, children in unity and elders being respected and honored. My goal is to ensure that my artwork reflects the other side of the Black experience which is Black Joy. Our communities need to be infused with hope and a feeling of togetherness. I believe my paintings hold that reality in mind.
2022 - Maryland Institute College of Art - MFA
2018 - 2022 BFA Drawing & Painting/Sculpture University of North Texas
2018 - Present BFA Tarrant County Community College. Fort Worth, TX
1998 Fashion Institute of Technology. NY, NY
February- March 2023- Maryland Institute College of Art- Student Solo show
June -August 2022 Gallery Guichard - Meraki, Chicago IL
May -September 2020- Unbreakable, HMAAC -Bert Long Jr. Gallery, Houston TX
2013-2018 Solo Show with Bridal Shows Inc.
2016 JL Turner Legal Association Dallas, TX
February 2014 Transparency WOCA art gallery, Fort Worth TX
May 2023-Infinity Collective DC,”Just Another Day”- Washington DC
April - May 2023 Black Artist Research space - Female showcase Baltimore, MD
February - April 2023 CPM Gallery “Let the Right One In” Baltimore, MD
February- March 2023 Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute. Baltimore MD
Dec 2022-Feb 2023 Gallery CA “To Witness, To Experience, To Reflect” Baltimore MD
February 2022- Tarrant County Community College- Black is Black Art Show
February 2022- Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum. Fort Worth TX
February 2022- Mckinney Black History Month Art Competition, Mckinney TX
May 2021- Senior Show, Paul Voertman Gallery, University of North Texas Denton TX
August 2021- Holding Space, 500X Gallery Dallas TX
February 2020- Black History Month - Irving Black Arts Council, Irving TX
February 2019- Black Migrations- Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum Fort Worth TX
January 2019- Converging Transparencies- Capital One Plano TX
June 2019- Juneteenth Art Competition, Tarrant Count Community College, Fort Worth TX
September 2019 Melanin Poppin Jeanette Kennedy Gallery Dallas TX
March - September 2019 Vignette Art Fair, The Women’s Museum Dallas TX
March 2019 TRAHC Regional Art Competition Texarkana TX
February 2019- BLKART214 South Dallas Cultural Center Dallas TX
2022 HMAAC - Raising Kings Mural
2021 Deep Ellum Foundation - Blues Alley. Dallas, TX ( Ray Charles)
2021 City of Irving, Georgia Farrow Recreation Center. Irving, TX
2020 Art of Digital Influence. Dallas, TX
Lectures, Presentations, Workshops
March 2023 -Eubie Blake National Jazz Institute- Artist Panel- Baltimore MD
March 2023- MICA Visiting Artist Presentation, Baltimore MD
February 2022- TCC College - Visiting Artist Presentation
March 2014 “Faith & Art Panel with Sedrick Huckaby WOCA Art Gallery. Fort Worth, TX
March 2023- MICA Leadership Award Nominee- Baltimore MD
February 2023 Infinity Collective Winner- Washington DC
May 2022- Visible Magazine- Priscilla Art Club Dallas, TX
2022 Best of Show -Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum. Fort Worth,TX
2022- 1st place - McKinney Black History Art Competition
2019 Best Of Show “Black Migrations” Lenora Rolla Heritage Center Museum. Fort Worth, TX
2019 1st place/Scholarship “Juneteenth Art Competition” TCC College. Fort Worth, TX
2017 2nd Place, TRAHC Regional Arts Competition. Texarkana, TX
2017 2nd Place, BLKART214 South Dallas Cultural Center. Dallas, TX
March 2023- Baltimore Beat- Homecoming - Teri Henderson- Baltimore MD
March 2023- Baltimore Fishbowl - “Let the Right One In” - Haley Tilt, Baltimore MD
February 2023- BMorphosis - Artist Spotlight- Pamela Lawton- Baltimore MD
May 2022- Visible Magazine - Priscilla Art Club of Dallas. Dallas,TX
February 2022- Dallas Observer- Blues Alley Mural- Dallas, TX
December 2021 - Texas Association of Schools of Art. Dallas, TX
October 2021 Ujima Magazine Podcast - Dallas, Texas
September 2018 “W.W. Bushman Elementary” Indwells, Interiors & Sources. Dallas,TX
May 2017 “I Am Royalty” Mural Featured in The Guide,Dallas Morning News. Dallas,TX
May 2017 “TRAHC Art Show” Texarkana Gazette. Texarkana,TX
August 2016 “42Murals Project” The Dallas Morning News Dallas,TX
July 2015 “Gods Gifted Hands” Southern Dallas Business and Living Magazine. Dallas,TX
October 2015 “Artist Highlight” Fort Worth Magazine. Fort Worth,TX