TRADITIONAL AFRICAN PAINTINGS THROUGH MODERN LENS
Malene Barnett, Brooklyn, NY based acclaimed artist, designer and founder of the Black Artists and Designers Guild, creates artwork and textiles that are influenced by her global travels including to the Caribbean and Africa as well as traditional African paintings. Her work has been commissioned by brands including Viacom, Saks, Marriott, Avalon Communities and the MetLife Building.
FOR THE LOVE OF ART
Malene Barnett’s interest in art and traditional African paintings dates back to her childhood when she fell into painting as a means of creative expression. What began as a personal passion eventually blossomed into an interest and career in luxury rug textile design and artwork.
Barnett uses her love of rich textures and color to create cross-media contemporary art. With a degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, Barnett beautifully reinterprets fine art with digital design and draws inspiration from the vibrant cultures of New York City, Africa, and the Caribbean. Having traveled to 25 countries, her work embodies the global influence of a world-traveler as well as the essence of traditional African paintings and art.>
“Research — in mediums, processes, and techniques — is where I examine my ideas, and new concepts arise that are explored and then applied to future works,” says Barnett. “In this process, I channel the paths of renowned artists such as Lois Mailou Jones, Elizabeth Catlett, Barkley Hendricks, and others who came before me. Their dedication to both craft and purpose while keeping cultural traditions alive and creating legacies encourages me to continue to enhance my artistic heritage with meaning.”
In 2017, Malene unveiled her collection, Market Series, a series of acrylics, watercolors, and pastels painted on wood. Market Series features visualizations of the black female nervous system as a means to explore the crossroads of pain, hope, and possibilities. Malene’s art encourages others to challenge the boundaries that inhibit self-expression. “By returning home to the legacy of the past, we can move forward.” - Malene Barnet
Barnett’s textile designs and artwork have been featured in New York Magazine, HGTV Magazine, Luxe + Design Magazine, and House Beautiful. She has spoken on Morning Joe, MSNBC Your Business, and TEDx. In 2019, she was awarded designer of the year by interiors + sources Magazine and the RADD Award (Real Estate, Architecture, Design Development) from Brownstoner.com.
FOUNDING BLACK ARTISTS & DESIGNERS GUILD
Malene Barnett is a vocal proponent for the inclusion of Black artists in global luxury design. In 2018, she established the Black Artists & Designers Guild, a renowned collective that showcases Black creative minds: artists, architects, and interior designers from across the Diaspora. The guild has since been profiled across every major national design publication, and had its first collection exhibition, Beyond the Mask at High Point Market, which featured designs by Lisa Hunt, Marie Burgos, Baughaus Ceramics, Jomo Tariku and more.
Malene’s artwork which is anchored by traditional African paintings and her luxurious wool and bamboo silk rugs with abstract prints adorn modern homes around the world; their jewel tones create a soothing mood in hallways and living spaces.