Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum’s boundary-defying practice attempts to transfigure notions of power
and agency for Black subjectivity within systems that would otherwise dismiss the complexity and nuances of its cultural and intellectual histories. Her series of pencil and oil- on-wood panels are inspired by her reflections on the instrumental role of nineteenth-century photographic portraiture in driving colonialist narratives that devalued Black cultural and intellectual inputs.
Combining references to iconic artworks by American landscape painters with her own invented primordial or post-apocalyptic settings, the artist’s fantastical tableaux include a diverse range of female subjects who reach past the stereotype of the sitter. The
ambiguity and fragmentation of the landscapes gesture at the different layers of overlapping cultural
and ethnographic orientations embedded within them.