October 6th – November 3rd
About Malaika Ross
Malaika Ross is a graduate of Hampshire College. She completed her B.A. in soil microbiology and her Div III thesis was titled “The Impact of Solar Arrays on Soil Microbial Activity”. She studied Painting and Drawing at the Rhode Island School of Design, San Francisco Art Institute and the Marchutz School of Fine Arts. She completed intensive coursework in sustainable faming, ecological restoration and Hawaiian ethnobotany at the University of Hawai’i, Hilo.
She grew up on the very small island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands and spent the vast majority of her childhood playing outdoors with soil, walking among tall grasses, feeding goats and learning about the healing qualities of plants from all the women in her family.
Her grandmother was a small-scale farmer with an extensive kitchen garden packed full with every plant her grandmother would need as an ingredient in her cooking or herbal tinctures. Malaika learned from her that honoring the land was an essential part of life.
Art, soil and forest are what connect Malaika to her life force/purpose every single day. She is on a creative journey where she is taking her love of soil, forest and ecosystems and integrating it into her art, which is woven into her identity as a black woman on this planet.
I’m a Caribbean American artist living in Western Massachusetts. I integrate the shapes and patterns developed in my microbial drawings of soil microbes into contemporary botanical paintings of native and introduced flora. The act of observing and documenting nature through painting and drawing as a black woman, is a form of liberation, environmental stewardship and anti-oppression work.
Some of my work places a black figure prominently in a natural setting, even as an element of nature, to remind the viewer that nature belongs to everyone and our BIPOC ancestors and communities continue to be connected to and defend the land in a way that protects natural resources for everyone.
PLEASE NOTE: walk-ins are welcome for the gallery.