This 2010 portrait of Mnonja by Mickalene Thomas hangs in the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, DC.
Mickalene Thomas creates large-scale paintings of African American Women to explore notions of sexuality and race through rituals with female beauty, Her models dress up and pose for photographs on a studio set; Thomas works from these photographs to produce finished works.
Rhinestones and sequins recall folk art traditions as well as the jewelry and cosmetics can enhance or mask a woman's identity. Mnonja exudes dignity and self-assurance as she reclines against a background redolent of a seventies-era family room. -- SAAM