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De'Aunna Booker

I am an illustrator who utilizes multiple mediums to create. I favor pencil and ink traditionally. I like the layering effect of ink on top of pencil sketched lines. I believe it contributes a certain organic nature to drawings that is too necessary to erase. I like to make art about my personal struggles or the struggles I perceive within the world.

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Unnatural Habitat

This piece is about gentrification. It is about watching neighborhoods that once belonged to people of color be taken without consideration. It is about how power and money allows you to uproot entire communities. Gentrification goes farther than forcing people to relocate. The early stages of integration of the upper-middle class always results in the criminalization of the community already living there. They make you feel like you don’t belong in your own neighborhood.

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Grow Up

This piece is about assimilation. It is about growing up Black and being told Black is bad. It is about being told to remake yourself into something better than Black. Growing up Black always felt like an apology; like I had to make up for something. I couldn’t just be gentle, I had to be the gentlest. I could never be angry because Black girl anger is too much. Black girl emotion is too much. This piece acknowledges what I’ve come from and how everyday I work to undo this expectation within myself.

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This piece is about assimilation. It addresses the obstacle of retaining one’s culture in a world that urges you to abandon it. As an African American I am constantly told that to be successful I must be nonthreatening. I must alter myself to appease the aesthetics of people in power if I seek to advance. This pressure paired with my opposing desire to achieve a deeper culture connection often butt heads. More than anything, they are inevitable. My reality as an African and an American are tethered.

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