Iman Person current body of research explores the depths of Black and Indigenous technologies as they exist through ritual, symbiotic relationships with the land, language, and cosmic time.

Artist Bio
Iman Person current body of research explores the depths of Black and Indigenous technologies as they exist through ritual, symbiotic relationships with the land, language, and cosmic time. Person engages with Africana cosmologies and personal experience to create speculative imaginings that form new concepts of Black futurity and sovereignty. Viewing the Black body as inherently rooted within the elements – air in her most recent body of work serves as a point of conjuncture for examining our collective past, migration, and diasporic memory. Her studio practice incorporates video, real-time data, plant hormones, experimental sound, and sensory ethnography as the foundations for her research and her approach to storytelling.
Iman received her master’s degree from UCLA in the Design| Media Arts program in 2022. In 2020, she received the 2020 STRP ACT Award for her project New Air. She has exhibited her work throughout the United States and Europe, including The Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Ars Electronica, the Ionion Center for Art in Kefalonia, Greece, and SoMA Art House in Berlin, Germany.

As an introduction to Person’s work, I wanted to ask that you please read the following excerpt from an interview with the artist that explores her background and how she came to be interested in addressing the topics she does.
INTERVIEW + CASE STUDY #1: Earth Medicine
From Common Creativ ATL
“Art is in a way my only tangible skill. Nothing else ever made sense.” [For] Iman PersonLinks to an external site., this is the driving force that has allowed her to embrace her innate creative aura that she’s always cultivating.
Through the support of an inspiring teacher in high school, she embraced the value of making art as a career. In 2010 Person received her B.F.A from Georgia State University and has gone on to become a fixture both in exhibition spheres and public art arenas. Person has developed an artistic identity that is captivating and complex, daunting to define. Her work is distinct but never predictable, channeling recurring themes of dreams, cyclical connection and mysticism. Her art embeds qualities of the feminine, primordial memory and anthropological customs to illustrate lineage and identity within the new, synthetic landscape.
Person took the time to talk with CommonCreativ about her philosophy of delving into one’s authentic nature, designing a dimensional world in which to create freely, and the power of the environment to dissolve metaphorical road blocks.
CC: How did you find your path as an artist?
IP: I’ve enjoyed creating things since I was little. I really loved drawing animals, plants, almost anything really. I would also build things in our yard with mud and sticks and even books, but my mother hated when me and my sister did that. The moment that I decided to be an artist was one day in my kindergarten art class when I saw a poster of Frida Kahlo’s Self Portrait With Monkey, and I said to myself: “I want to make art like that!” That was my personal humble beginning. From then on, I didn’t want to do anything but be an artist.
From there I took art classes in school, but it wasn’t until high school when I was able to put more direction into it. Fortunately, I had an amazing art teacher, Mrs. Fletcher, who really helped me to see that going to school for art was something that could really valuable and worthwhile. Before that I had been dealing with the doubts of my parents and their concern [about] me taking on a more traditional or “stable” career path, and she pushed me in a way that erased some of those doubts. In all honesty, a career in the arts was the only thing that made sense to me. While I’m interested in many topics like various sciences and history, most of those things are not able to hold my interests independently. Art is in a way my only tangible skill. Nothing else ever made sense.
CC: What medium did you start with, and how did you venture into areas?
IP: While in college I focused mostly on drawing and painting. Then I came to a point where I felt like only doing the two was not only limiting to the concepts that I wanted to express, but it also became too time consuming. I say this because while drawing, I was obsessed with making the work as perfect as possible and then I would get so frustrated when it didn’t turn out that way. It became very creatively draining for me, so I decided to take a textiles course and had the opportunity to begin thinking three-dimensionally. This was really a turning point for me in my ideas and how I thought of space manipulation. My drawing professors were very supportive of the move and I began to experiment with the implementation of form into my work through incorporating elements of stitching into my drawings and by creating installations that included different fabrics and surface design. That class gave me the confidence to experiment in other ways, like in my paint materials.
In conjunction with that work, I began to mix soils and salts into my paintings, which then led to the first real public piece that I completed for the Georgia State Sculpture Garden. The work was composed of thin fabric “pillows” that were filled with soil, metals, and salts, sandwiched between ceramic slabs that shifted as the materials decomposed or grew. I don’t think I would have ever arrived at that piece of it wasn’t for taking a step outside of my familiar mediums.
CC: You work with a variety of evocative themeshow do you choose them?
IP: It’s hard for me to say…I think what theme I decide to work on at that moment depends on which influence is heavily affecting my day-to-day thinking or experience. Although, I’m never really working on one specific topic at a time. It’s actually very difficult for me to focus on just one idea. I get distracted by new materials or sites so often that I tend to work in more of a web. Themes like dreams, cyclical connection and self-channeled mysticism, are all things that are constantly loosely woven into every piece that I create, but the degree of any of those experiences varies with each project. I go through moments where I am very interested in writing short prose, or dedicated to exploring precognitive dreaming…I like to rely on my intuition of what my body wants to commit to and now because of this, art-making doesn’t feel so much like work. My practice just exists in balance with everything else that’s going on in my life. The one thing that I do keep is a notebook for writing ideas, random words and questions to myself that I will hopefully answer later.
CC: What have been some of your favorite projects/pieces to work on?
IP: I think my favorite projects have been Earth Medicine… I loved doing Earth Medicine because the topic [of geophagy, or the act of consuming earthy substances such as clay] is so rich, and it allowed me to again take a step outside of my comfort zone. Whenever I reach a turning point or a block in my work, I search outward in the environment. The opportunity to work on site for this piece was beyond rewarding. The landscape was so surreal, in that I didn’t even feel like I was in Georgia anymore. There was also a sense of suspense and the unknown because I only had vague ideas of exactly where the kaolin mines were and when I wasn’t able to find the abandoned ones listed, we had to result to technically trespassing. I also got to experience firsthand how laborious video really is, which is not necessarily a hindrance to future projects I would like to do, but it is a major consideration when thinking about how would I execute another project of a greater magnitude or even one of a lesser scale.
The second case study that I wanted to ask that you consider, is Iman Person’s New Air:
New Air explores air as a messenger.
Air is an unspoken and invisible element that carries within itself matter, organisms, vibrations, and unique forms of language. Communication systems of the plant variety depend on air to harness ethereal compounds and carry their messages to populations of their kind and occasionally, other species. Messages of pollination, dormancy, invasion, caution, and movement. They are acutely sensitive to the world around them, harnessing abilities to absorb and decode their changing environments. Senses that reach beyond much of human understanding.
Connecting with the somatic languages of plants and other forms of life takes on a new hue when we begin to acknowledge the limitations of sight and its translation into the verbal, while much of communication and connection depends on intuiting or non-verbal cues.
New Air considers interspecies, and interspatial communication through the medium of air and video. […]
I further explored whether landscapes have a specific range of language in their flora and if their voice is harnessed by the wind that travels through them. I also began to think about how to communicate through the air with a landscape that was tied to my history, but I had yet to encounter it, which was my mother’s homeland of Jamaica. The video piece included audio recordings of wind harps that I built on-site in Los Angeles, poetry, and live wind data from four locations that are tied to my identity: West Africa, my mother’s home country of Jamaica, Atlanta, Georgia, and now Los Angeles, California. [Source: Artist PageLinks to an external site.]
Below, is an excerpt of this project:

CASE STUDY #3: The Spiritual Sound Technologies of Jamaica
More recently, Person built on the explorations around connections to ancestral lands, by focusing on re-tracing her mother’s connections to Jamaica, and exploring the sound technologies of the island.
Animal skins drying in preparation for drum construction. Iman Person.
She did this through an article, which I will have you read, as we will be returning to the context of Jamaica for the final unit of the class – see link below.

The Spiritual Sound Technologies of Jamaica

After having reviewed the preceding case studies, craft a question for Iman Person about her work – this can be related to conceptual and/or technical dimensions of her projects for example, or to an element of how the artist works with sound/visual media in their practice.
Your question should:
Demonstrate thoughtful engagement with the case studies, and as such be connected to Person’s work and/or context.
Relate to an aspect of their practice that you are drawn to, curious about, and/or find challenging, inspirational, and/or unique.
Should demonstrate a desire to connect with aspects of their work that are personally-significant to you. Plagiarism Free Papers

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