‘Still I Rise’: An Exhibition by Nadine Walker, Inspired by Maya Angelou

Inspired by the beloved poem by the late Maya Angelou, Still I Rise, visual artist Nadine Walker presents a stunning exhibition about overcoming racism, criticism and personal obstacles through a series of images featuring women who are beautiful, strong, occasionally sensual and infinitely empowered, on now in the Albany cafe through Monday 30 June. The images are made using mixed media with digital editing to create striking portraits that portray inner strength and endless endurance.

 

Β Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

(with illustrations by Nadine Walker)Β 

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You may write me down in history

With your bitter, twisted lies,

You may trod me in the very dirt

But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sassiness upset you?

Why are you beset with gloom?

‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells

Pumping in my living room.

 

Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise.

 

Did you want to see me broken?

Bowed head and lowered eyes?

Shoulders falling down like teardrops.

Weakened by my soulful cries.

 

Does my haughtiness offend you?

Don’t you take it awful hard

‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines

Diggin’ in my own back yard.

 

image (8)

 

You may shoot me with your words,

You may cut me with your eyes,

You may kill me with your hatefulness,

But still, like air, I’ll rise.

 

Does my sexiness upset you?

Does it come as a surprise?

That I dance like I’ve got diamonds

At the meeting of my thighs?

 

Out of the huts of history’s shame

I rise

Up from a past that’s rooted in pain

I rise

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,

Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear

I rise

Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

I rise

Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,

I am the dream and the hope of the slave.

I rise

I rise

I rise.

 

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While completing her MA in illustration, Nadine’s lecturer challenged her to craft an image using both visual art and text. At the time, Nadine was reading one of Maya Angelou’s books and stumbled across a poem she immediately connected with, Still I Rise, leading to her inspiration for this exhibition. She shared her love of the poem with her year 7 and 8 students from Virgo Fidelis Covent School in Norwood- challenging them to illustrate the poem. She ran a competition across 8 classes, selecting four to join her in her exhibition: Akalia Newland, Tahreem Sattar, Shafia Ali and Tia-Louise Bryan.

Nadine Walker is an art educator, graphic designer and illustrator from Lewisham. She has participated in collaborative and solo exhibitions across Central London, most notably being selected by the BBC as one of 20 artists invited to visually document the HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Thames Pagent.

For more information about Nadine and her work click here.

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