Curated by Nakeya Brown

Stage Names highlights women artists of color that have taken on stage names or the act of staging as a means of empowerment and experimentation. These writers, filmmakers, visual artists, and vocalists express their female experiences through visual and literary constructions in place of actualities. Their work combines invention with identity formation to affirm the complexities of expression.

All books are for sale.

Featured Image: Maud Sulter, In the Deep

on the shelf

Liz Barr, Body Works (Richmond, VA: GenderFail Press, 2016).

Lisa Gail Collins, The Art of History: African American Women Artists Engage the Past (Rutgers University Press, 2002).

The Early Works of Cheryl Dunye (First Run Features, 2008).

Jan Groover: Photographs (Boston: Bulfinch Press, 1993).

Leslie Hewitt: Sudden Glare of the Sun (St. Louis: Contemporary Art Museum, 2012).

Hey Lady Quarterly: Issue 5: Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Homework: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Paid Labor at Home. Edited by Eileen Boris and Cynthia Daniels. University of Illinois, 1989.

bell hooks, Art on My Mind: Visual Politics (The New Press, 1995).

Hettie Jones, Big Star Fallin’ Mama: Five Women in Black Music (Viking Books, 1974).

Diane Keaton, Reservations (New York: Knopf, 1980).

Audre Lorde, Zami: A New Spelling of My Name (The Crossing Press, 1982).

Jeanne Moutoussamy-Ashe. Viewfinders: Black Women Photographers (Dodd, Mead, 1986).

The Plantation Journal 4 Sculptural Geometry. Edited by Trine Stephensen and Elevine Berge.

The Pointer Sisters: Energy (Panet Records).

Wendy Rene: After Laughter Comes Tears (12-in LP).

Betye Saar: Uneasy Dancer. Edited by Mario Mainetti, Chicara Costa, and Elvira Dyangani Ose (Milan: Fondazione Prada, 2017).

Clarissa T. Sligh, Transforming Hate: An Artists Book (2016).

We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Woman, 1965-85. Edited by Rujeko Hockley and Catherine Morris (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017).

About the ARTIST-curator

Nakeya Brown

Nakeya Brown was born in Santa Maria, California in 1988. She received her BA in Visual Arts and Journalism & Media Studies from Rutgers University and her Master of Fine Arts from The George Washington University. Her photography has been exhibited at the McKenna Museum of African American Art, Woman Made Gallery, Hamiltonian Gallery, and The Urban Institute for Contemporary Art. Brown’s work has been featured in New York Mag, Dazed & Confused, The Fader, TIME, and Vice. Her work has been included in photography books Babe and Girl on Girl: Art and Photography in the Age of the Female Gaze. Brown was awarded the 2017 Snider Prize by the Museum of Contemporary Photography. She currently lives and works in Washington, D.C with her 5 year-old daughter, Mia.

about bookshelves

WPA invites artists to curate a selection on a periodic basis. The first Bookshelves was organized by Bookish, an itinerant artist bookstore run by Shannon Patrick, a MICA graduate, creative director of Bookish Baltimore, professional photographer, and bartender. All of the books are for sale.


October 6, 2017 – January 30, 2018


Washington Project for the Arts
2124 8th Street NW
Washington, DC 20001