Beauty & Fashion: Identity Formation as Performance Art

September 30, 2022 | 6:00-7:15PM EST / Virtual Event

The Hemispheric Institute is proud to present Agency + Process, a series of virtual conversations curated by Camille Lawrence celebrating individuals who are shaping the future of memory work, creating outside of traditional archival models. Those featured employ ethical methodologies to access and recover hidden Black histories. Lawrence refers to this intentional practice as “seeing in the dark”, where Black folks have the ability to see themselves where others cannot.

This series will explore, challenge, and celebrate the ways that Black memory workers are taking agency over the preservation, documentation, and representation of Black life, and will feature speakers who are transforming how communities interact and engage with archives and performance art. The series will begin with two events in which archivists discuss ways to address institutional inequities and share their reparative practices in the archives. The subsequent conversations will highlight creatives, archivists, and artists whose work centers Black visibility and the body as an archive.

Hemi is also excited to announce Camille Lawrence as a Mellon Curator in Residence for the 2022 calendar year. Lawrence is an artist and archivist whose work focuses on the diversity of artistic expression across the African Diaspora. To learn more about Lawrence’s work, click here.

​​These events are made possible by the generous support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the "World Making and Social Emergency at the Hemispheric Institute" initiative.

Beauty & Fashion: Identity Formation as Performance Art

For centuries, beauty rituals and the adornment of textiles have played a significant role in identity formation throughout the African diaspora. From scarifications to body paint, from weaving textiles to styling across the globe, African people continue to transform the beauty and fashion industry through their artistry as performance. Join Beauty Archivist Camille Lawrence, Fashion Archivist Tianni Graham, and Pro Makeup Artist and Beauty Historian Michela Waribei as they discuss the history of beauty rituals and the evolution of fashion as performance art.

Camille Lawrence

Camille Lawrence (she/her) is an archivist, artist, curator, and the founder of Black Beauty Archives. Lawrence’s work focuses on the art history, innovations, and diversity of artistic expression across the African Diaspora. She is primarily interested in exploring and archiving identity formation throughout the African diaspora and culture through three foundational principles: oral, physical, and ritual. Lawrence’s background as an art historian, artist, and beauty practitioner informs her approach to archival work. Her projects include Black Beauty Archives and contributions to Urban Bush Women, BAM DanceAfrica, and Black Dance Stories.

On Juneteenth 2020, Camille founded Black Beauty Archives to document, preserve and archive the history of Black Beauty culture. Camille's professional makeup artist experience includes publications in VOGUE, Sophisticate's Black Hair Styles, The New York Times, and TV/Film with Apple, CNBC, Disney, ESPN, Hallmark, and Nike. In 2022, Black Beauty Archives was featured in Oprah Daily! and mentioned on CNN and The Hollywood Reporter.

She completed her BA in Art History and a minor in Global Black Studies from SUNY Purchase. She is completing her MLIS from CUNY Queens College and Beauty Essentials Certification from the Fashion Institute of Technology.

Michela Wariebi

Michela Wariebi (she/her). Artist, Beauty Historian, Educator. Training. Talent. Tenacity. These three traits are the cornerstone of Michela Wariebi’s career as a beauty expert, educator, and artist. Michela brings beauty to runways, editorial spreads, and commercial advertising with exciting looks that have been featured in leading titles such as Marie Claire and Harper’s Bazaar, Essence, Vogue Italia and on NBC’s flagship morning program, The Today Show.

With her fearless approach to beauty, Michela’s deep technical knowledge has made her a sought-after instructor among other artists, many of whom credit her in helping them elevate their artistry. As an educator, Michela is an ardent champion of diversity, teaching her students how to work with varying tonal spectrums, shade ranges, and complexions. Celebrities including Beyoncé, Serena Williams, Tierra Whack, Kimbra, Yasmín Wijnaldum and Nicole Ari Parker have called on Michela for her creative and discerning eye.

Tianni Graham

Tianni Janae Graham is an archivist, fashion historian, and research consultant who is founder and curator of archivealive, a digital repository that provides context to rare archival content. Combining a BBA in Fashion Merchandising, an extensive career in fashion, and a love of history, she‘s gained previous experience at Estée Lauder, the Costume Institute Library at The Met, and LIM College. Most recently, Tianni has been featured in HuffPost, MSNBC, NYLON magazine, Business Insider, and, and she now lends her expertise as the newly appointed archivist of Thom Browne.

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