Date of Award

Spring 6-4-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)



First Advisor

Jackie Gendel

Second Advisor

Roger White

Third Advisor

Angela Dufresne


My skin is natural. My skin is political. My hair is natural. My hair is political. My speech is natural. My speech is political. There’s no such thing as apolitical.

My current interdisciplinary practice in painting and performance focuses on how Black diasporic identities hold, create, and process subsistence narratives. For this research, I am asking the questions: What role does pace play in resistance strategies and how can it be communicated through tempo? How are unspoken histories conveyed through movement, silence, the glance of an eye, fat crackling in a cast iron, pushing play on a walkman, and seeds thrown in the garden? How can my practice ‘map’ these diasporic ways of knowing and amplify ongoing struggles for Black womxn living?

As a study of embodied histories, my inquiry begins with a dialogue between the external and internal which I will describe through the lens of movement, informed by Black Feminist Theory, The Black Radical Tradition, and In The Shadow Of Slavery. I will conclude with how diasporic these ways of knowing are dynamically choreographed to create liberatory experiences within oppression through experimentalisms in pace, place, space, and tempo.

we made ourselves small so we’d have room to move room to dance room to sing room to laugh room to scream room to think without their eyes watching so that we’d have room to breathe and more comfortably sit and move our wrists and our hips so that we would know in the marrow of our bones what freedom feels like.


View exhibition online: Vessna Scheff, Pace/Place/Space/Tempo

Included in

Painting Commons



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