Artist Spotlight

PJ Harper(Pig.Malion): Celebrating the diversity that exists within Blackness

Pygmalion was a king and sculptor in the Greek mythology. Therefore it is no wonder that the artist PJHarper chose Pig.Malion as the name for his brand. PJ Harper is a solo artist who is based in Glasgow. He is fascinated by texture and the human form.

He creates different types of sculptures. His work consists out of digital prints, acrylic on canvas. He however mostly creates busts and fuller figures. For the future he is planning to scale up his sculptures. With his art Harper wants to celebrate the black body and black culture.

Because of the focus Harper has on celebrating and embracing the black body in its unapologetic state of beauty it could be argued that Harpers work has roots in the Afrofuturist imagination.Also classical Greek imagery supports him in his creations. Other sources of inspiration are artists such as Augusta Savage, Kara Walker and Solange. These artists celebrate black culture as well and focus on uncomfortable conversations and truths.

Another source of inspiration for Pig.Malion is his family and their experiences. He uses archival footage and old photographs of his grandparents. Especially his grandfather, -who was Britain´s second black body builder- plays an important part. Harper combines family narratives with the diverse content he is exposed to on social media.

Primarily his Instagram page (@pig.malion) on which he has almost 89k followers displays interesting conversations and the intersections within his practice. These conversations consider his own dual heritage of race and identity. Namely, Harper is of mixed race heritage, which made him aware of the countless narratives that sit within the black experience.

For Harper his art has been a way to translate the wide range of shades and body types that sit within the African Diaspora into art. His work therefore showcases the diversity that exists within blackness. He for instance displays different hair-,fashion- and makeup styles that are present in the black community.

He also made a sculpture where his fascination for texture becomes clear, namely the sculpture presents a female body including stretch marks and cellulite. Also he created busts of some black celebrities such as Nicki Minaj, Elah Hale andRonnie ‘from the players club’. With his work Harper aims to demonstrate that the homogenous portrayal of the black body in art is incorrect and that the black body in fact is varied. A conversation about this variety remains necessary.


Sources

about the artist |Pig.malion (bigcartel.com)

Pygmalion(mythology) - Wikipedia

PJ HARPER : @pig.malion on Instagram

Get Our Monthly Newsletter, Directly Into Your Inbox!

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form