Living Arts Centre

Painting & Drawing

Using oil paint on canvas, Tennille Dowers explores themes of representation, visibility and suppression around black womanhood and examines how objects, textures and styles transform in meaning once when race and gender inform contextual parameters. She is primarily concerned with the chameleonic survival tactic of code-switching in terms of appearance and language as a means to achieve safety, love and/or success. Her work observes how neutral nouns such as body, hair, strong, dark and big are immediately injected with coded meaning and stereotypes once “black” and “woman” bind them by hyphens.

In her work, black feminine features historically dismissed as undesirable peer out defiantly from colour fields that are attempting to render them invisible. By doing this, the artist invites the viewer to find and acknowledge these features and faces that are often absent from media and art perceptions and discussions on beauty.

Tennille Dowers is a visual artist and communications specialist. She merges her professional interests by coordinating multidisciplinary arts and cultural programming and exhibitions at Black Artists’ Network Dialogue (BAND). She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from York University with Visual Arts as her specialization.


 Instagram: @tentendee

Twitter: tennilledowers