Umbra: An Exhibition on Intersectionality

This solo exhibition by Terresa Moses, Umbra, centers the intersectional experiences of Black womxn.* Inspired by her own experiences and the experiences of other Black womxn in the Duluth, Moses was compelled to create work which validates and uncovers the institutional racism and sexism perpetuated in this community everyday. 

Black womxn deserve joy.

The full exhibition is located at

The Exhibition

The exhibition not only includes the 26X26 inch screen printed illustrations, but it included interactive pieces that explore the six themes present in the show: gaze, control, savior, (d)anger, burden, and liberation. The exhibition also included a poem that crossed the whole space. It is my hope that all individuals come to realize their contribution to these experiences– either as a perpetrator of harm or a healer.

These pieces were shown at for the first time at Zeitgeist Arts Atrium.

Project Naptural

Project Naptural

Project Naptural is an initiative for education, connection, and the overall empowerment of Black women with naptural hair. New data that supports the health risks chemical relaxers may have on Black women like fibroid tumors and alopecia. Secondary research (historical, scientific, psychological, sociological, and anthropological implications) along with primary research (interviews, observations, focus groups, surveys, etc.), has found the need for information about the many aspects of caring for Black naptural hair to be necessary. The project consists of a connective system in which this free knowledge may exists and empower Black women in both a physical space (The Nap Network 1.0: The Art Exhibition) and coming soon to a cyber space (The Nap Network 2.0: The Mobile Application).

The Emotional Refugee Experience

Confusion, Disillusion, Isolation, and Adaptation

After the civil war and the emancipation of Black people, the divide between Black folks grew even larger due to identifiers like skin color, hair texture, and education level. As more and more Blacks were freed, a refugee-type experience took place. The emotional refugee experience, a phrase coined by O’Neil & Tobolewska in Global Refugees, Ethno-mimesis and the Transformative Role of Art. The experience is defined in four phases which Black people have and continue to experience today.

My Natural Hair Journey

Human Ecology

Each individual has their own hair experiences, opinions, and ways of doing which can be found in a large ecosystem that affects or ripples into the next, often times without realization of the instances affect on others (or even yourself in the future). The ecological systems theory, developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner, also called the development in context or human ecology theory, is defined as a procedure that “identifies five environmental systems with which an individual interacts.” This theory provides the framework for the study the relationships and affecting factors..

Project Naptural Exhibit & Symposium

Educate, Empower, and Connect

After speaking and receiving opinions from over 200 Black women about their natural hair experiences, Project Naptural launched in January 2016 with an exhibition that celebrated the beauty and versatility of natural hair. I illustrated these posters with elements of anonymity, same skin tone, no facial features, feathers and leaves as hair texture, in hopes that every Black woman could see themselves in the illustrations. I added the title of the hairstyle, including quotes from my interviewees, and data which I complied after interviews, focus groups, surveys, and graffiti walls.

Project Naptural Mobile App

The Nap Network

The Project Naptural app will essentially take the elements of the physical space and bring it right to the user’s phone. In the Natural Hair Community, there are certain hair products that are considered staples (conditioner, oil, water, etc.) and my hope is to create another hair staple for the Black woman. The app works by allowing the user to self-identify their hair texture, length, occupation, age, the time allotted for hair care, any coloring, etc., and then disseminate information that fits their hair type and routine. They can also hair journal, length check, and find natural hair meetups close to them.

Project Naptural Workshops

The Project Naptural Workshops (6 total) consist of tutorials, discussions, journaling, & product-making for kinky and curly haired female-identified folks. Workshops are free, however, registration is required and participants must be residents of the Minnesota Northland Area, identify as female, and have (or legally guard a youth with) naturally curly and/or kinky hair. Project Naptural is an educational, grant supported, academic design research and cultural study about the social implications of natural hair and its effects on Black women.

The workshops are held at the Duluth Public Library and include the following topics:

  • “The Roots” Foundations of Natural Hair
  • “HAIRitage” Historical Contexts of Natural Hair
  • “Strands In, Stand Out” Braiding Styles & Protective Styling
  • “I’m Me & I’m Proud” Learning to Love Your Natural Hair
  • “Food for the ‘Kitchen’” Using & Making Natural Products
  • “Naptural Living” Living Naptural & Empowered

Excuse Me Ladies Series

Excuse Me Ladies Series

Excuse Me Ladies Series

This series was inspired by my speech at the 2018 Women’s March. Each poster represents a part of my speech included below:

“So excuse me if I side-eye your White feminism, or back-hand your White privilege to touch my hair, … or roll my eyes at your ability to say thank you without investing in what I do…”

The full speech can be found here.

Work Exhibited

These pieces were shown at the Phenomenal Art Show hosted by the American Indian Community Housing Organization celebrating women of color.

They were also exhibited at the What the Feminist (WTF) Art Show at the Washington Center Galleries.

My Experience Series

My Experience Series

My Experience Series

Heart Strings addresses my frustrations with folks who feel they have a right to my hair, my body, my Blackness, and my identity. It is a reflection of my experiences as a Black woman in a White world with Euro-centric beauty standards.

I created Family Photo as a way to validate my own history and racial identity, often forgotten in society. My African culture and heritage were stripped from my ancestry by way of slavery now being written in our history books as “indentured servitude.”

The illustrations in Counterfeit highlight the traits that I, as a Black woman, possess. These traits are often seen as unruly, barbaric, exotic, and overly-sexual — except when applied to someone with white skin.

Panel at Mia

After the first exhibition which included ‘Heart Strings’ and ‘Family Photo,’ I was asked to speak on a panel at Mia about my work and efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within the design field and AIGA Minnesota. My work was also displayed in the museum. Photo credit: Jay Larson.

These pieces are now being shown in the Tweed Museum of Art in the ‘Fine, Define, Refine’ Art Exhibition until August 2018.

Black Duluth in History

Black Duluth in History

The Life, The Work, The Fight

The Life, The Work, The Fight: Black Duluth in History is an exhibit that showcases the stories and history of Black Duluthians. The project combines excerpts of recent oral histories of African American elders in Duluth with historical roles dating back to the late 19th Century to show the depth and complexity of intertwining histories. The theme panels help provide context to the stories and experiences of those featured in the biography panels.

I played the role of designer for this project, conceptualizing the vision of the curator and placing the photos and information together. The curator, Jordon Moses, compiled this information and presented the work in themes, and organized the show. The photographer of the present day photos present on the biography panels was Daniel Oyinloye. Aimee Brown who helped find photographs for the panels. Many of the photographs are housed amongst the University of Minnesota Duluth Kathryn A. Martin Library Archives and Special Collections.This project would not be made possible without the individuals who were willing to take part in this process by sharing their stories. Many thanks to David Woodward, Rachel Phelps Horton, Yana Davis, MizJanetta Paul, and Kiesha Nason for acting as interviewers and helping collect these recordings. Zeitgeist Arts hosted this exhibit and supporting our efforts.

This event was sponsored by Clayton Jackson McGhie Memorial Inc., with the support of the Minnesota Historical Society and the Lloyd K. Johnson Foundation. This exhibition was made possible in part by the people of Minnesota through a grant funded by an appropriation to the Minnesota Historical Society from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund. Special thanks to Heidi Bakk-Hansen, Project Dir. & Historical Researcher, and Drew Digby, Assistant Project Director.

The Movement Imprinted

The Movement Imprinted

The Movement Imprinted

This exhibit is the outcome of my assignment “The Movement Imprinted,” in which I ask my students to create work based on a particular person, song, or experience in the African-American community. Each year has a different theme. I then specify that their design should emulate and be inspired by the work of an African-American graphic designer. Along with the designed poster or portrait, they are accompanied with a designed booklet that details information about their topic, their assigned designer, the students’ progress, and the topic’s impact on the movement and Black culture.

The students’ work is then sold for auction with at least 50% of the winning bid going towards the Duluth NAACP. Since I began this community project in 2017, every piece has sold at the auction.

Music of the Revolution

Each exhibition is themed. This year, in 2018, the theme was based on songs about the Black experience. The songs selected for each student included a range of styles, from Nina Simone to Lupe Fiasco.

Faces of Change

Each exhibition is themed. The first year this project was explored in 2017, the theme was based on Black activists. The activists selected for each student included a range from Harriet Tubman to Danny Glover.