An Artist’s Continuing Exploration of the Human Form

Senga Nengudi, photographed in Boulder, Colorado, in October 2020.

Photograph courtesy of Caleb Santiago Alvarado.

Senga Nengudi came onto the arts scene 50 years ago with now iconic sculptural works made from nylon, through which she explores the elasticity of the human body. As a new mother, she was thinking about the physical and psychological effects felt in her body during and after pregnancy. Lovia Gyarkye, writing for the New York Times, explores the ongoing career of this preeminent Black woman artist whose work became synonymous with the Black Arts Movement. Gyarkye looks at the full scope of Nengudi’s life, from her early years of dancing to her rise to prominence and what continues to inspire this artist to create even in our current moment of instability and unrest.

“This may not have been the original intention of the works, but it is what they have become: a story of bodies in transformation, acting and being acted upon, doing their best to exist in the world.” - Lovia Gyarkye