Soulé Déesse is a multi-ethnic multidisciplinary artist. Her practice explores and expands the limits of traditional media and moves effortlessly between drawing, painting, and site-specific installation, incorporating sculpture, collage, video, experimental sound, oral storytelling, digital printmaking, photography, and performance.
Déesse has participated in national and international residencies, including Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY, the Hungarian Multicultural Center in Budapest, Hungary, the Cholamandal Artists Village, Injambakkam in Chennai, India, and the Residencia Internacional de Arte Can Serrat, in Barcelona, Spain. She has received several awards, including Best of Show at the Migrations Film Festival, The Front, New Orleans, LA, and the Yaddo Donald and Genie Rice Filmmaker Residency Grant. Several publications have written about her work, including Art in America, and her paper bag test project was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). She will be a Bogliasco Fellow at the Bogliasco Foundation in Genoa, Italy, in spring 2023.
She has exhibited her work, solo and in collaboration, in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas, including at such institutions as the Indianapolis Museum of Contemporary Art, IN, Black Mountain College Museum & Art Center in Asheville, NC, Printed Matter, Inc., New York, NY, Site:Brooklyn Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, Mahmoud Darwish Museum, Bethlehem, Palestine, Center for Global Justice, San Miguel De Allende, Mexico, Bogotá Arte Contemporaneo Gallery, Bogota, Colombia, Galerie Nord, Berlin, Germany, Greatmore Studios, Capetown, South Africa, Total Arts Gallery, Dubai, the Cultural Foundation, Abu Dhabi, the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY, and the B2 Center for Media, Arts & Performance at the Atlas Institute in Boulder, CO.
She earned an BFA in Drawing and Painting and BA in Psychology from Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art and Architecture, Philadelphia, PA.
I define my practice as Afrobaroque: rooted in the vision and practice of Afrofuturism, my work is a commentary on our human and post-human identity and the future of race and sexuality. It breaks down aesthetic and stylistic boundaries—it also breaks down cultural and religious barriers and promotes the affective connection among humans regardless of race, gender, class, and language. It draws on the esoteric spirituality and magic of my Beninese-Togolese-Haitian-Jamaican lineage to address the politics and aesthetics of geographical and social displacement, the complexities of pain, memory, and place, and the evolving realities of identity perception. I am interested in the power of imagery and object-making to represent trauma and death and the state of the world as observed through the eyes of a Black woman: as it recounts my own story of isolation and exile, my practice aspires to be a meditation on the very act of storytelling, a giant experiment in human telekinesis.