"My art is a tool to bring people from different ethnicities, social statuses, beliefs and backgrounds together to educate them and develop a dialogue on who the individuals in my portraits are, their significance and why their struggle is relevant today. They have been intentionally excluded from mainstream American History. Their stories must not be forgotten." - Sophia Dawson
Sophia Dawson, 31, is a Brooklyn based visual artist who has dedicated her life’s work to ministry (service.) Her multidisciplinary practice includes portraiture, performance, public art and video. She uses her platform and influence as an artist to expose the narratives and experiences of people who individually and collectively face injustice. Through her work she aims to humanize social justice issues and to prevent such experiences from being repeated in the future.
Sophia holds a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from the School of Visual Arts and a master’s degree in visual arts administration from New York University. Her works has recently been exhibited in galleries and art fairs throughout the country and recently at the Bronx Museum for the Arts . Sophia is a recent participant of the Whitney Museum's Independent Study program, University Settlement’s Performance Project Residency program, and the Bronx Museum of Art’s first residency program. She has been commissioned to create public art projects and interventions by Amnesty International and the Vera Institute of Justice.
Dawson facilitates art workshops at Rikers Island through Artistic Noise, a nonprofit that serves court involved youth and is also a participant in the Rikers Island Faith in Re-entry program where she mentors young adults while they are behind bars and after their release. Some of the subjects of her artistic practice include mothers who have lost their children to police brutality both past and present, the Exonerated 5, and political prisoners from the Black Liberation movement that are still incarcerated within the United States. She works closely with the individuals represented in her work through handwritten letter correspondence to prison institutions, visits, and participating in fundraising events and advocacy efforts for each individual.