In the history of Western art and religion, the color black is linked to darkness and evil. But in the paintings of Grace Lynne Haynes, it is renegotiated to represent black women in moments of rest and leisure.

“One of my favorite speeches is Sojourner Truth’s ‘Ain’t I a Woman?’” explains Haynes, “where she talks about how black women are not seen as not only human beings, but not as woman. Again, in a society—specifically in a Western society—the example of womanhood is white womanhood, and the further you are from that, often times the less worthy of protection you are seen, or the less womanly you are perceived, to be. So that’s something that I’ve always wanted to emphasize in my work—that not only am I black, but I am a woman, and I have the right to put my womanhood first, and prioritize my womanhood.”