Intrigued and inspired, I closely followed Symone’s journey of 1000 mini portrait paintings: 1 of Minnie
1 of Minnie: a 240sf piece of art comprised of 1,000 individual pieces, an event celebrating Black Sisterhood…
1 of Minnie is who we are: Individually beautiful, powerful, strong, smart and loved. And all of that intensified, magnified, and even more awe-inspiring when we are together.
I’d never heard of such a feat by an artist collective nor one alone, so naturally, I was curious and knew I had to witness what it would all lead up to. As a social media stalker, of course it’s hard to grasp what a one thousand-piece series may look like. The artist, Symone Symone, took us along as she spent over a year painting each 5×7″ piece at her dining room table. From my screen, it was just a tiny taste of how these beauties would look and feel in one room. On one wall. It sounds like a lot, and it is a lot in the best way imaginable! The sight of a thousand beautiful faces representing the entire color spectrum was like watching the sun rise while seeing a baby take his first steps and getting the wind knocked into you. Photos can’t capture the magnitude.
1 of Minnie embodies the entirety of Black Womanhood—perseverance, strength, serenity, quiet confidence, vulnerability, openness, softness, attitude, regal head wraps, locs, afros, undercuts, finger waves, popping lip color, du-rags and gold hoops.
I asked Symone why, girl? Why!? Why portraits? Why one thousand? Why us? She simply said she wanted people to see us. We deserve to be seen. And you can’t miss a wall of 1000 paintings of us. (She also used the word crazy to describe her courageous act. She wanted to see if she could really do it because she knew it’d be dope if she could.)
And 1 of Minnie is definitely dope—like nothing I’ve ever seen. Symone’s husband describes the room in their home where she creates and displays her work as the Omi Room and, y’all, we fortunate few were standing in it. 1 of Minnie truly represents our powerful presence, our innate ability to be emphatic without saying a word. Stepping into Pop Up at 8th, along with other attendees (some who planned to be there, others who luckily happened by), I was drenched in what Symone aptly describes as magic, the Black Girl kind. Not only had she completed the great endeavor of painting one thousand portraits, but Symone did her part of bringing along a village of other Black woman-owned brands, supporters and creators to be present for the showing. From the photographer to the wine and jewelry counter, these collaborations are a big deal to not only represent sisterhood and Black business and creativity, but to have a familial space to celebrate and simply be.
What may be my favorite aspect is the tiny red line added to each Minnie; it represents a thread that connects us to one another, that no matter what, there is a sister out there who gets you, who’s with you. Who sees you.
DEAR BLACK GIRL,
We are so grateful that you came to share this moment with us today. Know that as we depart from one another, distance cannot separate us. From piece to pieces, we are ever connected, just like the art in this room. Remember what you have experienced today. Remember the power of this collective. Remember us. We will remember you.KNOW THAT YOU ARE LOVED.
THANK YOU for this, Symone. Your love and energy is infectious. You have created something much bigger than you, than me, than us. A gift that that will keep giving beyond this generation. I wish you nothing less than everything you want in this life. Keep shining and being fancy!
Symone has generously priced her original artworks with all budgets in mind. Please, let’s uplift this lovely artist:
I know, I know you want to see 1 of Minnie in person! She had her day in Atlanta, but I say we take 1 of Minnie on a nationwide tour so we can all bask in her glory. This experience was held in a beautiful space curated by Black women whose vision is definitely worth supporting; if you or someone you admire has a similar space, let’s campaign for Symone to show and speak on 1 of Minnie in your city.
about the author: