Much argument has been made about how ancient Egypt has been depicted as a watered down Europeanized version of its true “melaninated” self.
Despite Hollywood’s narrative, ancient drawings of Egyptian pharaohs and goddesses clearly depicting black and brown bodies offer evidence of a wondrous and important civilization now stricken of its essence via mainstream media.
Josh Sessoms is one artist who is putting the blackness back into Kemet Egypt through a series of drawings titled, “Ritual Spirit,” featuring beautiful ancient goddesses in all their glory. To create each piece, he uses either live models or simply his imagination.
“I want to show the timeless beauty of black women and our people and the mystery and the poetry of the physical form and also the fact that our bodies are a vessels of a spirit that transcends time and space,” he told BeyondClassicallyBeautiful.com. “I actually try to encapsulate that into the visuals that I share.”
The inspiration for his work came after he left his hometown, North Carolina and moved to Philadelphia to pursue graphic design, but fell in love with Philly’s art scene. He also began visiting New York art galleries and artifact museums.
“What I discovered is that there’s a rich history of black art but it’s not found in museums,” he said. “So what I wanted to do is put our face into my art and kind of share our beauty with the world through my artwork.”
Sessoms says he uses color pencils to draw because for him, they are more precise than oil paintings. His other reason for his choice is more philosophical and in line with the words and thoughts of ancient thinkers and Greek philosophers.
“The word has power and from the one word comes the power of physical creation,” he said. “So I kind of like to channel that through the actual tool of the pencil which kind of mimics or mirrors the written word.”
Visit JoshSessoms.com to see more of his work.