100 Women We Love: Class Of 2018

Each one of these women, in her own unique way, is a role model who exemplifies the best of the LGBTQ community.

Mickalene Thomas

Photo by Christopher Smith

As one half of the collaborative duo Deux Femmes Noires, Mickalene Thomas works to increase the visibility of artists of color. The New York-based visual artist and curator is known for portraits that “reveal the complexities of identity, gender, and sense-of-self and are informed by the ways women (and ‘feminine’ spaces) are represented,” all while casting a contemporary eye toward female sexuality and beauty. From the Whitney in New York to L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Monaco, Thomas has shown extensively across the globe. Her 2012 film, Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman, a documentary about her mother, was picked up by HBO. She has two major exhibitions coming up this fall: “I Can’t See You Without Me” at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus, Ohio; and “Mickalene Thomas: Femmes Noires” at the Art Gallery Ontario. Now, with Deux Femmes Noires, she is teaming up with her partner, Racquel Chevremont, to continue to ensure artists of color are seen at the forefront of her discipline. With all her success, Thomas doesn’t take anything for granted. “I don’t take the freedom of being a working artist lightly,” she says. “What drives and excites me is that I’m able to use my opportunities to build platforms for other artists of color. It’s important for me to advocate and heighten the visibility and opportunities for artists that look like me.” —SEJ

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