Mickalene Thomas

I define my work as a feminist act and a political act because I’m black and a woman…the act of making art itself is a political and feminist act when you’re a woman.

  • Name: Mickalene Thomas 
  • Born: January 28, 1971
  • From:Camden, New Jersey 
  • Partner: Racquel Chevremont
  • Education:
  • Occupation: Contemporary African American Visual Artist.
  • Known For: Painting, photography, collage, sculpture, printmaking, video art and installation art.
  • Awards: 
    • 2012 – Brooklyn Museum Asher B. Durand Award 
    • 2013 – Audience Award: Favorite Short, Second Annual Black Star Film Festival
    • 2013 – Anonymous Was A Woman Grant 
    • 2014 – AICA-USA Best Show in a Commercial Space Nationally, First Place 
    • 2015 – BOMB Magazine Honor 
    • 2015 – MoCADA Artistic Advocacy Award 

Mickalene Thomas is a lesbian artist of the modern era. The contemporary art she creates is best recognized for its unique use of rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel. But beyond painting, she pushes the boundaries of art by diving into unexplored mediums such as body art, figuring drawing and photography, and art installations that transport you to another world. She draws inspiration from creatives such as Carrie Mae Weems for finally speaking to her on a personal level as an African American woman. Thomas tries to communicate the plights and victories of women, and redefines the definition of beauty through her work. In many instances she does not define what is abstract or real, and instead focuses on having her subject express confidence in themselves by starring directly at the viewer. Her strong subject matter on colored women is to empower them and contest stereotypes revolving around female inferiority, as well as have their stories and culture be shared.


To download the Handout:

  1. Click on the image
  2. Right-click and select Save Image As…
  3. Print
  4. Write a description on the line and decorate.
  5. Cut out and use for a selfie to share on our social media page.
  6. Download a card and envelope template and write about an idea this leader inspires.
  7. Check out more resources and ways to celebrate MLK can be found on these links as well as our official  Day of Service opportunity to volunteer.

This ASI Special event is an ongoing volunteer-led project made by people like you, using multiple educational sources regularly being revised and updated. We would love your assistance if you or your group would like to get involved, learn more here.