Nailah Fumilayo Davis is a Moroccan/Afro-American, gender nonconforming, multi-disciplinary artist. Originally born in Chicago, Illinois, they are currently based in Brooklyn, New York. Davis received their BFA in photography from Parsons, The New School, and is now a grad student at NYU, Tisch School of the Arts in the Interactive Telecommunications program.
Through multiple disciplines such as photography, performance, mixed media collages, video, and instrumental music, Nailah’s work explores expressions in Africana life, in regard to race, gender, and identity politics. Davis’ work considers an integrative approach to art-making and storytelling by expanding the boundaries of traditional art practices. With an interest in conveying new narratives regarding multi-intersections of Black culture, Davis’ process is driven by the desire for critical engagement through the use of visual and performing arts. Their practice behaves as a cultural study that reflects the aesthetics and values of subcultures within the Africana diaspora. Davis is committed to highlighting underrepresented groups, and rejecting conventional Western depictions of Black life in art and mainstream media. With an interest in generating multi-sensorial content, Davis also creates otherworldly and abstract audio-visual performance installations that use creative technology softwares/hardwares and conceptual art practices to explore multi-dimensional storytelling. Through their installations, Davis seeks to create experiences that cultivate thought around liberation and free existence for marginalized groups. Davis provides a unique perspective that draws attention to often ignored dynamics between the storyteller, the viewer and the subject. The work creates a self-autonomous audience by encouraging the confrontation of preconceived racialized notions.
Davis’ influences stem from the south-side Chicago pan-africanist cultural arts scene, the early grassroots of the Hip-Hop Movement, and The Black Arts movement founded in Harlem during the early 1960’s.