Cydney Camp (b. 1994, Detroit) is an artist whose oil paintings and drawings embody the diversity of Black life.
She imbues her works with an aura of power and tranquility through a vibrant color palette, often introducing elements of abstraction, forming dreamlike compositions. Many of her scenes reflect moments of peace among Black figures, positioning leisure as an act of protest against marginalization, particularly in regards to Black femininity. As a whole, her works engender a reality outside the exploitative extraction of the Black body that pervades our broader cultural ethos.
Camp has exhibited across Detroit and Michigan, including at K.O. Gallery, Norwest Gallery, Ann Arbor Art Center, Center for Detroit Arts & Culture, Detroit Fiber Works, and many more. She lives and works in Hamtramck, Detroit.
My practice in oil painting and drawing is founded on an investigation of what it means to exist as a Black person in America. My work posits leisure and luxury as radical in the face of a world that constantly demands labor, culture, and respectability from Black bodies, especially Black women. I collage scenes from my own life, and the lives of others, to depict Black, often femme, figures existing in realities untouched by pervasive misogynoir. My work aims to dissolve the dissonance between vulnerability and strength: in the worlds of my paintings, nude women recline, exposed but wholly in control, and Black men lounge as they birdwatch in the park, completely undisturbed, creating a commentary on racialized power dynamics and the boundaries of respectability politics. These themes are amplified through my opulent color palettes and the incorporation of abstract compositional elements, resulting in scenes that are grounded in realism but imbued with an otherworldly quality that situates them as sites for healing and restorative futures.
Cyndney Camp’s work is currently on display at the Carr Center Gallery as part of the exhibition, “With All Our Might.”