Asha Bell is a multidisciplinary artist whose work centers around cultural memory, legacy, and nostalgia. She highlights lost ancestral knowledge and the reclamation of ideas, values, and ways of knowing, erased by colonization. Her practice involves postcard-sized paintings, hand-carved wooden sculptures, photography, and video. Through a muted color pallet, her images jailbreak a narrative that has curated the Black experience from existence. Her work depicts everyday scenes of Black life: eating breakfast, going ice skating, playing chess, or lounging at the park. Through memorializing Black lived experiences, she works to reframe concepts of freedom and liberty and centers on Black family life. Her work is often informed by a quote from James Baldwin’s The Fire Next Time: “they could deal with the Negro as a symbol or victim but had no sense of him as a man.” Using this as a guide, Bell recontextualizes Black life by challenging the typical and common depictions of Black people. Bell invites viewers to explore hidden truths and observe intentional gaps in the context of the human story.
Asha Bell is a senior BFA student at Cornell University from Nyack, New York. She is a multidisciplinary artist whose work centers around cultural memory, legacy, and nostalgia. Her practice involves postcard-sized paintings, hand-carved wooden sculptures, photography, and video. She attended the Harlem School of the Arts prep program, and in 2017 she received the Gordon Parks Scholar Award to study photography, drawing, and painting. She is the recipient of the 2021 Ezra Cornell Award in Digital Media and the 2021 Cornell Council for the Arts Student Grant for her exhibition Disrupting Quietude in Suburbia: Landscape Activism, as well as, the 2022 Elsie Dinsmore Popkin Memorial Painting Award, and the 2022 Painting Anderson Ranch Art Center scholarship.