“Pantheress” by Georgie Nakima

August 11, 2023 - July 21, 2024

A colorful mural of a person's face, hand, and arm. Their hair is long and their arm is covered in bracelets. The mural covers a long indoor wall.

Pantheress is a site-specific installation by Charlotte, North Carolina-based artist Georgie Nakima. Her vibrant and multi-layered painting highlights the complexities of the Black American experience and the indomitable resilience of the Diaspora. Featuring spray paint on cut wood with custom-printed wallpaper, the central focus of this work challenges the conventions of classical portraiture by leaning into the world of the abstract motifs and visual aphorisms that surround her subject. The title of the piece, Pantheress, is a tribute to the instrumental work of the women of the Black Panther movement. The work, featuring timeless geometric and natural forms, can be seen as both a product of this past and a harbinger for a hopeful future.

Reframing mindfulness as a revolutionary strategy for meaningful change, her design engages with the idea of finding equilibrium. She writes, “Much like a chemical equation, I balance a number of elements in my visual arrangement: hardwood versus soft spray; geometric patterns versus organic structures; the crushing weight of oppression versus the power to stand in defiance of it.” She engages her visual palette by intuitively intertwining color theory with color therapy. In Pantheress, her rich indigos coupled with the vivid fuchsias create a space that is alternately calming and electrifying, an apt combination of forces to describe the ebb and flow of energies that boldly animate her canvas.

Georgie Nakima is a multi-disciplinary artist with a focus on public art and on the relationship between two-dimensional and three-dimensional space. Her formal education in life sciences and research inspires her to explore the network of ecosystems in her work and to visualize the intersectionality of our shared world, often through an Afrofuturist lens. Her work has been shared in both public and digital forms as a featured artist for AT&T, Ford, and Xbox/2K Foundations. She has been commissioned to create works for the League of Creative Interventionists, the City of Belmont, the City of Garner, the City of Charlotte, the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Winston-Salem State University, Mecklenburg County Public Art Commission, Hickory Public Art Commission, the World Trade Center, the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, PangeaSeed Foundation, DC Comics, Coachella, Lending Tree, Credit Karma, Hornitos Tequila, and Camp North End.

This installation and related programing have been made possible by the generous support of Dorothy L. Heninger. Fabrication support was provided by Derek Toomes at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Image credit:
Georgie Nakima, American, Pantheress, 2023, spray paint on cut wood with custom-printed wallpaper. © Georgie Nakima. Photograph by Alex Maness Photography.