Be yourself. Don't be brown.

300 USD

15% of proceeds will be donated to Womankind (, nonprofit dedicated to helping survivors of gender-based violence to rise above trauma.

YEAR 2018
MEDIUM Acrylic ink 
EDITION Original artwork
FRAMED In white

Each artwork was created after having a conversation with a woman about her gendered contradiction. This is part of a series called Defying Dualities. Learn more about the work here: www.takeupspacebybng.

Be yourself. Don't be brown.

“Be yourself. But what you're seeing from the media and getting implicitly from the world is be yourself in this certain way that is light skin and has blond hair. I was a hairy kid. None of these girls had any of these things going on.

As far as growth, I have this little sister who is 5 years younger than me. I noticed, every time she was worried about something in school like I don't know if I'm pretty enough, I was just so outwardly like no you are and it doesn't matter what people say. I would just be the person I wish I had in my corner when I was her age. And it has totally worked because she's super proud of being Muslim and brown, which were things I was not proud of when I was young. Now she started a radio show about being brown at college.

The goal is to build your own standards and be in a community of people that embrace those with you. These communities can have ripple effects so that more and more people can feel super attractive to be a brown person or it's cool to be Muslim even though the media is telling you it's awful and scary. What would the world look like?" –Nadia L.