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Malene Barnett

Shop Artist - Past

Artist Statement

My work examines the relationship between handmade techniques in modern art and design. My travels around the world, coupled with a deep appreciation for the details and forms found in West African art, have offered me a unique insight. 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. 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.


Malene Barnett is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and textile designer based in Brooklyn, New York. Malene is interested in finding ways to define the Black narrative while raising awareness about racial inequality in America. Her artistic practice is inseparable from her work as an activist. She shares her African heritage with a global audience through sculptural ceramic tiles and vessels, mixed media paintings, and tapestries. Barnett exhibits nationally, gives talks, and publishes work raising awareness around Caribbean makers and ceramic art traditions. She holds an MFA in Ceramics from the Tyler School of Art & Architecture and undergraduate degrees in Fashion Illustration and Textile Surface Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology. Malene has participated at Anderson Ranch, Watershed, Judson Studios, and Haystack residencies. In addition, she is a grantee of a Fulbright to Jamaica and the founder of the Black Artists + Designers Guild, a  collective of independent Black artists and designers.